Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Abu Dhabi is home to the third largest mosque in the world, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. In addition to being free and open to foreigners, which is very rare in Muslim countries. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is huge and covers more than 12 hectares.
Built by the first president of the United Arab Emirates, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and inaugurated in 2007, the Grand Mosque represents the consolidation of Islamic culture and is a prominent center for Arab sciences.
Entirely decorated with more than 100,000 tons of white Italian and Greek marble, its interior features delicate floral designs inlaid with semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli, amethyst and mother of pearl. The verses of the Qur’an are written in three types of Arabic calligraphy by artists from the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Jordan.
Seven gold-plated chandeliers of different sizes with Swarovski crystals were made by leading international crystal chandelier companies. The largest of the chandeliers is the largest in the world with about 12 tons. In addition, there is a Persian carpet which is considered the largest in the world. The mosque has a capacity of more than 40,000 worshippers, more than 80 domes and can be seen from different points in the city.
What to see?
Sheikh Zayed Mausoleum
The mosque is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, known for unifying the Emirates and creating what is now known as the United Arab Emirates. Known as the driving force behind the changing landscape of the Gulf, Sheikh Zayed passed away in 2004. Three years later, the Grand Mosque was completed. He is laid to rest in a mausoleum on the north side of the mosque.
This bright white courtyard, surrounded by reflecting pools, was inspired by the Badshahi Mosque in Pakistan and the Hassan II Mosque in Morocco. In the middle of the courtyard, you can see the architectural wonders of the mosque borrowed from different countries and cultures.
The courtyard itself can accommodate 30,000 worshippers and is guarded by four 351 meter high minarets inspired by three different civilizations: Egypt, North Africa and Turkey.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque has a total of seven large chandeliers. Steel cables, which can support up to 36 tons, support each chandelier. In total, the seven chandeliers in the Grand Mosque contain nearly 40 million Swarovski crystals.
The large chandelier in the main prayer hall of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque has a diameter of 10 meters (32 feet) and a height of 15 meters (49 feet). With a weight of 9 tons, it is one of the heaviest chandeliers in the world. This chandelier is inspired by the date palm tree, a characteristic of the region.
The chandelier in the main prayer hall is made of stainless steel and brass, covered with 40 kg of 24-carat gold.
The largest carpet in the world
It is located in the prayer hall of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It is mainly made of wool imported from New Zealand and took 16 months to weave.
The carpet, made by a third generation Iranian master upholsterer, was delivered in nine pieces in two jumbo jets. 1,200 artisans worked on the hand-woven carpet, which, when unrolled, covers an area of 5,700 square meters.
When to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque?
The best time to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is at the opening, at 9 am, or later in the evening, at sunset. Visiting in the morning or evening avoids the heat, which can be extreme, especially during the summer months of May through November. At sunset, the Abu Dabhi mosque is beautiful.
Like any popular tourist attraction, weekends are a bit busier than weekdays.
Clothing for the visit
To visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, it is necessary to follow a certain dress code. In general, women should not wear tight or short clothes (long pants and skirts are allowed). Arms and shoulders must be covered, as well as the head. For men, shorts and tank tops are not permitted. If you are not dressed appropriately, there is no need to worry: the mosque has a free clothing loan service for visitors. All you have to do is leave an identity document (passports are not allowed) and take the clothes. All tourists go through a “clothing search” to be approved or not.
Admission to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is free.
The guided tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque lasts 45 minutes and is open to all tourists. Tours are conducted in English or Arabic and to join a group, you must arrive 15 minutes before the tour begins. Audio guides are available free of charge in 11 languages, including Portuguese.
Visitors are free to take pictures of the mosque.
How to get there
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday, 9:00 am to 10:00 pm; Friday, 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. During the Ramadan period, hours may change.
Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street، – 5th St – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates