That one day in Abu Dhabi

Looking for a chance to learn about the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Islam and Emirati culture? Then a visit to Abu Dhabi will help. I had the pleasure of visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque on a day trip to Abu Dhabi. It is the 8th largest mosque in the world and arguably one of the most beautiful structures in the world.

We arrived at night and were crossing fingers to find it open after taking the 2 and a half hour drive from Dubai. Lucky for us, the mosque usually closes at 10 pm. Even at night, the mosque looked stunning; though I have to admit that I would love to see the mosque again, in the sun, with its white marble, domes and minarets reflecting on the blue waters surrounding it.

Here are some shots and of course, I have highlighted some of the striking things I learnt/noticed during the visit.

To all my muslim friends, Ramadan Kareem!

The grounds:

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The grounds use a special kind of lighting that follows the moon’s phases and they become lighter as the moon becomes full
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There is no entry fee to visit the mosque. It is open from 9 am – 10 pm daily except for Friday mornings!
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Opening of the mosque took place in the holy month of Ramadan in 2007.
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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was initiated by the late President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his final resting place is located on the grounds.

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The pools along the arcades reflect the Mosque’s spectacular columns, which become even more glorious at night.

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There is a library at the mosque stocked with classic books and publications (dating back more than 200 years!) addressing a range of Islamic subjects: calligraphy, the arts, coins.

Inside the Mosque:

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There are 96 columns in the main prayer hall, inlaid with mother of pearl and marble.
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Materials used in its design and construction include marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics. 

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Intricate work on the ceiling

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The huge crystal chandelier in the main prayer hall, one of seven German-made chandeliers that costs more than eight million dollars.

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Swarovski crystals on one of the world’s largest chandeliers
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The largest hand-knotted carpet in the world knitted for 2 years by about 1200 carpet- knotters! Also, you must leave your shoes at the Mosque’s entrance
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The mosque is a symbol of unity, a place of worship and a haven of tranquility. Must visit if you are ever in Abu Dhabi

 

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