The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is easily one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. I don’t believe you have be religious to appreciate the architecture and beauty of religious buildings. Both the external and internal are heavily decorated and fascinating. It’s easy to access from both Abu-Dhabi and Dubai with options for a full day sightseeing tour or to jump on the hop-on/hop-off bus in Abu-Dhabi.
Interesting Facts about the Sheikh Zayed Mosque
- Construction started in 1996, but the mosque wasn’t finished until 2006.
- It’s the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates with a capacity of 40,000 people. Now although that sounds big, that’s only 1% of the capacity of the largest mosque in the world; The Great Mosque of Mecca.
- Made up of 82 domes and over 1,000 columns.
- It is home to the largest carpet in the world!
- The main prayer hall holds one of the largest chandeliers in the world, it weighs twelve tonnes!
- The mosque is open to the public daily from 9am to 10pm apart from Fridays when they are open 4:30pm to 10pm.
- They run complimentary one hour guided tours.
- It is free to enter the mosque.
What to Wear and Etiquette when Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque
- Men – long trousers and a tshirt is fine – you are not provided with any clothing at the mosque.
- Women – although you are provided with an abaya, a loose robe-like dress with a head covering, it is still a place of worship so it is expected that you turn up in something respectful, so long sleeves and a long skirt.
- Men and women cannot take photos of themselves close together or touching, this is disrespectful. We did see a couple get forced to delete a photo of themselves by the security.
- Women must also have their hair tucked inside their abaya.
When to Go
- My best tip is to visit just before sunset and stay until the sun goes down. Seeing the mosque in the daylight, then watching the sun set over it and the lights come on is breathtaking and allows you to see it in a whole new light.
- If you arrive before the Isha Prayer time you will also hear the Call to Prayer which given the location and how impressive the building becomes in the dark all lit up, it’s quite special.
Where to Stay to get the best view of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
- There is no denying the Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi is a stunning hotel, but the view of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is breathtaking.
- If you fancy being a little further away but still with an impressive view of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque then the Shangri-La Hotel, Abu Dhabi is for you. Check this out!
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