Istana Nurul Iman – Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei - Atlas Obscura

Istana Nurul Iman

1800 rooms of single-family residence in Brunei. 


Named the Palace of the Faith Light, this $1.4 billion home in Brunei seems to display more opulence than spirituality. Completed in 1984, the extravagant Istana Nurul Iman is the largest palace in the world, and is occupied by only one family.

Dripping in oil wealth, the palace was commissioned by the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, and every detail of the place is grandiose and over-the-top. Covering 2,000,000 square feet, the palace features everything one would expect; 1,800 rooms, a 110 car garage, and of course, an air-conditioned stable for the Sultan’s horses. So as not to get too far from the idea of Faith Light, the palace also includes its own mosque that can accommodate 1,500 worshippers.

Besides being the sultan’s home, he also entertains foreign dignitaries at the palace, and several government offices are also on site. Despite these practical uses, the palace is still very much a home for the sultan and houses part of his 5,000 car collection including custom made Bentleys and hundreds of Ferraris and Rolls Royces.

Although it is a private residence, the sultan invites the masses in for three days a year during Hari Raya Aidilfitri. An estimated 110,000 come every year to gawk at the riches of the sultan, and receive a gift from his eminence; small packets containing money.

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November 17, 2011

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