Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
The Wonders of The Grand Mosque
Oh, the exquisite beauty! The mosque creates a captivating sight, among the modern sky-scrapers of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. It is a fantasy, almost whimsical; a true prayer. One would never tire of contemplating its exquisite beauty.
The mosque was completed in 2007 and its first event was the funeral service of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nayan, the revered ruler of Abu Dhabi and founder of the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Zayed passed away in 2004, the Grand Mosque being his burial place.
The Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates, and is actually the eighth largest mosque in the world.....being the size of 5 football fields! It can hold the incredible figure of 40,000 worshippers at one time!
The Grand mosque is one of the very few mosques which allow non-Muslim visitors to enter. In fact it is the only such one in Abu Dhabi. A visit, therefore, to the mosque amounts not only to an opportunity to marvel at this architectural wonder, but also to gain a rare insight into Islam and Islamic culture.
There are very informative free guided tours around the mosque at 10am (except on Fridays) and 5pm. I was lucky enough to join a group led by an Emirati guide who expertly informed us many extra details about the mosque.
The wonderful carpet
Our guide told us that, although the Grand Mosque is not the biggest in the world, it has beaten several other world records. It houses the world's largest knotted carpet, which was hand-made by 1200 Iranian women, all artisans in their trade. Apparently the carpet was so big that when it was completed it had to be cut in half, transported in two aeroplanes and then reassembled by some of those same artisans who were also flown in from Iran.
There are over one thousand columns throughout the Mosque. These columns are inlaid with semi-precious stones and are absolutely breathtaking. They play with your sight, as your eyes flash from one to another, trying to comprehend their sheer number and the immensely pleasing visual effect they have. This is truly a sanctuary, a place for peace and meditation.
The magnificent columns
1000 columns beautifully inlaid
And now for the chandelier!
There 24 carat gold-plated chandeliers, including the world's largest chandelier, which hangs in the main prayer hall, weighing an incredible 9 tonnes. The chandelier is made up of thousands of Swarovski crystals and is 10 metres in diameter and is worth an amazing 8.2 million dollars.
If you visit...
Remember when visiting to dress respecfully.
Non-muslim ladies will be provided with an 'abaya' and head covering at the entrance, which they leave as they exit.
Driving past the mosque in the evening is another feast for the eyes. The whole building and surrounding areas are lit up and the whole scene is ethereal, absolutley delightful.
If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment below. If you have visited the mosque, share your thoughts about it.
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