Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Posted on November 26 2018
One of the architectural jewels of the United Arab Emirates, explore the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the capital, Abu Dhabi.
When visiting Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is often high on the list of places to visit. It is easy to see why, as the largest mosque in the country, it is an architectural icon. People visit from across the globe not only admire the mesmerising domes and towering minarets but also to learn more about Arab culture, life and religion.
Before visiting, keep the following information in mind to ensure you make the most of your trip. A mosque is a place of religion and at times, will be closed to tourists, particularly around Ramadan when the opening times change. The mosque also has limited opening hours on Fridays so do check times before you plan to visit throughout the year.
There is a dress code when visiting the mosque and it is advised to dress appropriately to avoid being declined entry. All women are required to wear a headscarf. Limited numbers are available to borrow at the entrance of the site. Check the official website for requirements, details and availability. Visitors are also required to remove their shoes upon entering the Grand Mosque, leaving them in numbered storage to help quickly locate upon departure.
Once inside, visitors are treated to impressive views of the sahn (courtyard) which measures 17,000 m2, considered to be one of the most extensive examples of marble mosaic in the world. Beautiful floral and gold detailing is seen around many of the doorway and arches and columns, examples of the intricate level of detail and craftsmanship that have gone into the structure's construction.
The interiors are just as impressive, if not more than the Grand Mosque's exterior. The main prayer hall can fit approximately 7,000 people in for prayer and features one of the largest hand-woven carpets in the world. At 5,627 m2 the carpet took two years to create using 1,200-1,300 carpet knotters. There are also seven enormous chandeliers imported from Faustig in Munich, Germany that incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals, sparkling in the light.
The visit was personally an unforgettable experience and an excellent example of what man can create. While it feels as if the Mosque has stood the test of time for hundreds of years, many of you will be surprised to know that it began construction in 1996, making the achievements in development all the more impressive. For any visiting Abu Dhabi or the UAE, a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a top recommendation.
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