Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Extreme Construction: Mosque of Domes

From Today's Gulf Times we read that
The State Mosque, an ambitious project launched by Qatar in Al Khuwair, will be one of the largest in the world upon completion, Gulf Times has learnt.
The “Mosque of Domes”, as it is commonly called because of the 99 domes it contains, is large enough to accommodate up to 12,000 worshippers in the main prayer hall, in addition to 8,000 more in the open courtyard, a source associated with the project told Gulf Times.
“It is set to be one of the biggest (mosques) in the world; fifth biggest, I believe,” the source said.
The closely-guarded project is being built under the supervision of the Private Engineering Office at the Emiri Diwan, the source said, adding that the mosque would have traditional Qatari features incorporated into its design, “as opposed to a modern look”.
“It is strictly based on local roots and heritage. There was a Qebab mosque (Mosque of Domes) in Qatar. This project is essentially a larger version of that ancient structure,” the source said.
The State Mosque has 28 large domes, in addition to 71 smaller ones surrounding the open courtyard, totalling 99 in all. Although those involved in the project said they were not given the reason for those many domes, an Islamic scholar yesterday said the relationship could be to the 99 names of Allah.
“The sole minaret, which will also have an observatory overlooking the Gulf, is expected to be 65.55m tall including the crescent,” the source said.
Officials contacted by Gulf Times could not give a timeframe for the opening of the mosque.
Different people gave dates ranging from this November to one year from now.

The location is on the north coast of Qatar, slightly south west of the center tip. When the weather improves I'll visit and see if I can get close at all, since they refer to it as a closely-guarded project. The Hassan II mosque in Casablanca and featured in this slideshow, by comparison, has space for 25,000 worshippers inside and another 80,000 outside. The 210-meter minaret is the tallest in the world and is visible day and night for miles around. As the Mosque of DOmes develops I will be looking specifically to see the "traditional Qatari features incorporated into its design, 'as opposed to a modern look.'” I will also be very interested in seeing and, if possible, entering the observatory in the minaret. Imagine looking across the Persian Gulf into Iran, left toward the end of the Persian Gulf at Kuwait and Iraq, and right toward the Straits of Hormuz from this point. What a vista!