An Insider’s Tour of the Sultan Mosque

The Sultan Mosque

One thing I love about Singapore is that people from all races and religions live harmoniously together.  Because of the diversity of our citizens, we have public holidays to celebrate significant days within the different religions and cultures.  The most recent holiday we celebrated was Hari Raya Aidilfitri on 27 July 2014.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a celebration that comes right after Ramadan, a month of fasting for all Muslims who are physically and emotionally able to.  To learn more about Ramadan, I decided to pay a visit to one of the most prominent mosques in Singapore, the Sultan Mosque.  The Sultan Mosque regularly welcomes guests to teach them more about the history of the mosque as well as share a little bit about Islam.

The Sultan Mosque

The Sultan Mosque

One of the most distinguishing features of the Sultan Mosque is its golden dome.  Its golden dome glistens in the sunlight, enhancing its beauty.  Another unusual feature are the rows of soya sauce bottles that line the building.  Soya sauce bottles?  Yes, indeed!  When the mosque was built in the early 1800s, the villagers nearby wanted to donate something to the construction of the mosque.  However, they did not have much money and decided instead to donate soya sauce bottles.  These soya sauce bottles were readily accepted and formed a unique decorative feature of the mosque!

Soya Sauce Bottles form a decorative ring at the bottom of the golden dome

Soya Sauce Bottles form a decorative ring at the bottom of the golden dome

The inside of the mosque is as beautiful and as distinctive as the outside.  Dark green ornate carpets cover the prayer hall.  The moment I entered the mosque I felt a sense of peace and serenity.  I appreciated how simple the prayer hall was.

At the entrance of the prayer hall was a digital signboard filled with a row of numbers.  When I asked my guide what the numbers meant, my guide shared that the numbers were actually times.  The time Muslims must say their prayers everyday, the time of sunrise and the times Muslims must start and stop fasting.  It was very interesting.

The Prayer Hall

The Prayer Hall

When we finished our tour of the prayer hall, my guide brought me up to the roof.  This was a very special experience, offered only during Ramadan.  The view from the mosque’s roof was breathtaking, the experience itself was truly unforgettable.  While we were on the roof, I had the rare opportunity to listen to the beautiful Azan (call to worship) from the neighbouring minarets, watch the fiery orange sun descend into the grey-blue sky and feel the gentle evening breeze wrap itself around me.  It was truly a moment I will never forget.

The Sultan Mosque is open to visitors daily until 4:00 pm.  They have local guides that will be delighted to share more about the history of the mosque and Islam.  If you do plan to visit Sultan Mosque, I suggest spending a day walking the streets of Kampong Glam where you can enjoy delicious authentic Malay food, visit the Malay Heritage Centre and browse the shops selling authentic Malay clothes, perfumes and accessories.  Capella Singapore’s Personal Assistants will be more than delighted to arrange for local tours of Kampong Glam for you or perhaps recommend a good restaurant in the area.  They can be reached at +65 6591 5034/35 / pa.singapore@capellahotels.com.

Halloween In Washington DC

United States Capitol Historic

With Halloween just around the corner, Washington, D.C. has a great deal of festivities and celebrations planned for all ages!   Before you ask Google what’s happening for Halloween during your stay, I highly suggest asking your Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant.  After all, that is what they are here for!  Your Personal Assistant will happily curate every imaginable aspect of your stay, even arranging spooky ghost excursions tickets and transportation!   I sat down to speak with one of our Personal Assistants who gave me some incredible ideas for what to do for Halloween in DC.  And some of this is insider information that you won’t find anywhere else!

Boo at the Zoo- National Zoo

Boo at the Zoo
October 25th-27th: To commemorate the National Zoo’s “Boo at the Zoo” 15th anniversary, designers have created a special coloring book that will be handed out at the event.  Children ages 2-12 and of course their parents are invited for a trick-or-treat animal tour extravaganza complete with entertainment, animal demos, traditional chocolate candies, and healthier options for parents, including wholesome honey sticks, apples, and granola bars.  Your kids can also look forward to receiving fun activity books and glow in the dark tattoos.  These unique treats and items won’t be found anywhere else in the city and neither will South African Cheetahs!

United States Capitol Historic

Capitol Hill Haunted Tours
Capitol Hill is considered one of the most haunted sites in Washington, D.C.  This brand new 1 ½ hour walking tour features authentic documented ghost stories of places like the Shakespeare Library, Library of Congress, Supreme Court Building, and concludes at the U.S. State Capitol Building.  The stories involve famous historic figures and connect to trials like the Lincoln conspiracy, public executions at the Supreme Court Building, and ghost stories at the Press Gallery stairs. This tour is open nightly through mid-November to children and adults!  It is truly a perfect way to experience Washington, D.C.  hands-on and immerse yourself  with non-fabricated researched ghost stories, accompanied by tour guides in Victorian costumes.

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Giselle Ballet Performance at The Washington Ballet
Capella Washington, D.C. has an exclusive partnership with The Washington Ballet.  Experience a more personal understanding of this dramatic, romantic, and ghostly spirits ballet by requesting access to private weekday studio rehearsals, backstage passes or personal interactions with Artistic Director, Septime Webre.  Choose from five performance dates beginning Wednesday, October 30th-Sunday, November 3rd.  This is the perfect date night or family activity to celebrate Halloween.

 

Aren’t you ready to celebrate Halloween?!  Be sure to request further details from your Capella Personal Assistant.  And remember, they are also happy to offer assistance with ticket purchasing, transportation and reservations for each of these events!