At my hotel in Muscat, I spotted a poster for Oman tourism with a stunning photo of a golden dome against a crimson sunset. I decided to track the place down and finally found it was called Asma Bint Alawi Mosque. Being a small place, however, it’s not actually on any tourist itineraries, so it took quite a bit of research before I found the exact address and then convinced a taxi to drop me off there and pick me up later.
Located alongside Muscat’s formula-one-speed highway, the mosque is tucked away in secluded gardens, not far from the Royal Opera house. On arrival, it looks rather unassuming, and as it was late afternoon it was deserted too. Inside, however, is a different story. I wandered around the courtyard, admiring the over-sized golden doors and green and white striped floors. For photographers who love symmetry, the entrance arches provide perfect framing opportunities.
At nightfall, when local people start arriving for Maghreb prayers, the place becomes even more atmospheric. Lanterns render the façade molten gold and bushy date palms become striking silhouettes against amethyst skies. Although it’s tiny compared to the city’s landmark mosque, Sultan Qaboos, Alawi is definitely one of Muscat’s hidden gems, especially for photographers. It was that gorgeous, that if I’d had my own transport, I would’ve returned the next day to capture more images of the opposite facade bathed in morning light.
Tips for visiting Alawi Mosque: Remember to take a wide angle lens with you.
Aim to visit both morning and evening for the best photos.