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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

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The tiny state of Brunei is an Islamic monarchy. Massive offshore reserves of oil and natural gas have made it extremely wealthy. As a result, the small population enjoys free education, healthcare and pensions, and pays no income tax. Only about 15 percent of the land is farmed, since Brunei is mostly rainforest. Rice, tropical fruit, and cassava are the main corps.

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is a royal Islamic mosque located in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of the Sultanate of Brunei. The mosque is one of the most spectacular mosques in the Asia Pacific and a major landmark and tourist attraction of Brunei. The mosque unites Mughal architecture and Italian styles. The mosque is built in an artificial lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River at Kampong Ayer, the "village in the water". It has marble minarets and golden domes with courtyards and lush gardens full of fountains. The mosque is surrounded by a plethora of trees and floral gardens which in Islam symbolize heaven. A bridge reaches across the lagoon to Kampong Ayer in the middle of the river. Another marble bridge leads to a structure in the lagoon meant as a replica of a 16th Century Sultan Bolkiah mahligai barge. It was built to commemorate the 1,400th anniversary of Nuzul Al-Quran (coming down of the Quran), completed in 1967 and used to stage Quran reading competitions.

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Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

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