As one of the world’s largest mosques and architectural masterpieces, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a fusion of Islamic architectural styles. More than 1000 columns adorn the mosque, which has an impressive number of domes (up to 82). The mosque’s floor is covered with the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet and boasts chandeliers dripping with 24-karat gold leaf. It hangs from one of the largest ceilings in the main prayer hall.
As a symbol of Islam’s message of tolerance and peace with others, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul, authorised the mosque’s construction. According to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision, the Grand Mosque would serve as a living example of modern Islamic architecture that bridges the past and the present, as well as a lighthouse for Islamic sciences and methodologies that reflect authentic Islamic principles.
Despite the huge volume of visitors to this majestic mosque, an air of calm and serenity pervades the area year-round. UAE’s most populous mosque, most places of worship, and a significant amount of luxury architecture can be found here. Across 4 million people visited the mosque in the first half of this year from all over the world.
Main architectural elements
The mosque’s 82 domes are unquestionably its most outstanding feature. The biggest one is in the middle of the main prayer hall. The “crown of the dome” is fashioned like an inverted pyramid and is gilded and adorned with glass mosaics on the upper half. All domes are covered in pristine white marble from the outside.
The mosque’s minarets combine aesthetic and magnificent Islamic architectural inspirations into a single design.
Columns with capitals at the bottom rather than the top are made with polychrome natural marble, creating a unique art form. This Islamic architectural style is out of the ordinary.
There is a sense of harmony in the colour scheme because of the blending of the walls, pillars, and carpet.
Another interesting element of this building is the glass sculpture. Glass mosaics, carved glass, and polished glass all feature traditional Islamic themes.
This mosque’s four minarets are visible from afar. It is estimated that each minaret is 106 metres in length and is constructed of three geometric shapes. The minaret’s square base, influenced by Moroccan, Andalusian, and Mamluk architectural styles, is the tower’s first component.
The Mamluk era is evident in the octagonal architecture of the minaret’s second half (from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries). The shape of the third component, which is cylindrical, was common during the Ottoman Empire (from the fourteenth to the twentieth century). The lamp atop the minaret, which is composed of gilded glass mosaics, commemorates the Fatimid era (from the tenth to the twelfth centuries).
The main prayer hall’s floor is covered in the world’s biggest handcrafted Islamic carpet. It was designed by carpet manufacturer and artist Dr. Ali Khaliqi, a third-generation family member.
Approximately 5,700 square metres of wool are used to make the carpet. It was the product of the labour of more than 1,200 artists. The project was completed in two years, with design taking eight months and spinning twelve months.
German Faustique created seven crystal chandeliers for the mosque. When it comes to sheer size, the largest chandelier clocks in at 10 metres in diameter and rises to a height of 15 metres. Additionally, there are two 8-ton copies of the same design adorning the main prayer hall.
The mosque’s main entrance is decorated with a 2 tonne chandelier, one of four that are identical in style and size and hang from the doorways around it.
Figures and statistics for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
When it came to the world’s best religious tourist attractions in 2018, it came in third behind the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica and India’s Taj Mahal, with Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Temple taking first place, according to TripAdvisor. Arrangement.
Built from 1996 to 2000 at a cost of $ 545 million, this one-of-a-kind architectural marvel began in Abu Dhabi. Headed by Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the world’s third largest mosque presently covers the size of four football fields (about 22,412 square metres). To far, the mosque has held three Guinness World Records, including biggest carpet, chandelier and dome of its kind. The mosque can accommodate approximately 40,000 worshipers at a time.
Featuring 82 white marble domes, 1,096 external columns, 96 precious stone-encrusted internal columns, and seven Swarovski chandeliers coated in 24-karat gold, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an architectural wonder that captures the hearts of everyone who visit it. A historical and cultural structure may be found in Abu Dhabi.
The story of the establishment and design of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
In honour of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s ruler and first president of the United Arab Emirates, and motivation for the construction of this beautiful mosque, the mosque was dubbed the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Even before he passed away, Sheikh Zayed had given the go-ahead for the mosque’s construction and even advised that he be buried in the mosque, which is exactly what happened. His generous body was buried in the mosque’s courtyard when he died.
Syrian architect Yusef Abdalki created this magnificent structure, which draws inspiration from Persian, Mughal, and Moorish styles. 3,000 skilled professionals from 38 different construction firms collaborated internationally to create it. Luxury is found in the stunning building’s subtle details, like the amethyst and jasper jewels embedded in the columns and the intricate flower motifs carved out of mother-of-pearl that can be found on the interior walls.
The floral decorations on the mosque were made by British artist and painter Kevin Dean, who views his involvement in one of the world’s most interesting architectural projects as “altering his life.” He was chosen by Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed (the son of Sheikh Zayed bin Zayed), who was also in charge of overseeing the mosque’s construction, Professor Salma Damluji nominated Kevin Dean as the project manager.
After emailing his resume and past work to Sheikh Sultan after leaving the Natural History Museum in London, Kevin Dean states, “I was on my way to Abu Dhabi to meet Sheikh Sultan.”
“He was a beautiful man,” Kevin Dean said of him, who “had a lot of ideas about the mosque.” He “didn’t want the mosque to be ornamented with typical Islamic motifs,” Kevin said.
Kevin Dean was astounded when he was given complete creative authority over the project. A logistical success, but also a creative one, according to Kevin Dean. When working on previous megaprojects, I was restricted in terms of creativity. However, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque project provided me with complete creative freedom.
Although he worked on the project for nearly four years and made frequent trips to Italy to see the designs being created (it took more than 30 million pieces of marble), Kevin Dean’s joy was indescribable when his floral designs appeared all around the mosque’s main courtyard, which was 17,600 square metres.
Kevin Dean recalls thinking to himself, “I can’t believe this is happening.” From the patio, you could see for miles. The main patio’s decorations were inspired by well-known Middle Eastern flora, which I designed. At the main prayer hall, I created patterns inspired by Northern Hemisphere flowers; in the north entrance, I created patterns inspired by Southern Hemisphere flowers; and in the south entrance, I created patterns inspired by Middle Eastern roses. “My design emphasises the universality of the Islamic faith, which appealed to Sheikh Sultan.”
World famous people visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque draws a great number of tourists and visitors, as well as a slew of notable figures. Celebrities who have visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque include architect Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Shanina Shayk, Chanel Iman, and Halima Aden. They wear traditional Islamic clothing inside this spiritually elevating location, which captures the hearts of those who see it with its breathtaking beauty.
In 2016, Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall travelled to the UAE for three days, stopping at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Singers Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, and Dua Lipa wanted to see Abu Dhabi’s top tourist attraction when they visited the country.
Important information and advice on visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
There is no charge to enter the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is open daily from nine o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock in the evening. The last tour starts at 9:30 PM, with the exception of Friday mornings, when it is open from 4:30 PM until 10 PM. Tour guides lead one-hour tours of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Tourists will be able to marvel at the architectural and heritage treasure’s delicate and beautiful components during this period in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Be sure to join the sunset tour at 5 p.m. to take advantage of the stunning scenery. The mosque’s enormous dome offers a completely unique atmosphere for guests.
Due to the religious character of the place, wearing modest clothing is a must for all visitors. Women must cover their legs, arms, and heads, and men must wear long trousers, and the mosque provides free traditional abayas for women before entering, and this is great as it saves a lot of the hassle of trying to find suitable clothes to enter the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Everyone must remove their shoes before entering, so it is recommended to wear socks if you prefer not to walk barefoot, despite the great cleanliness of the floors of the place. You will also need sunglasses to wander around the mosque’s courtyard where the sun is shining, and to be able to comfortably contemplate the mosque’s exterior walls as the sun reflects on the mosque’s marble walls.
The mosque is always full of visitors but it is so vast that no one is ever crowded. We recommend that you avoid the scorching midday heat by heading there first in the morning or in the late afternoon.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a popular destination for photography enthusiasts and professionals
With so much beauty and luxury, it is no wonder that everyone, amateur and professional of photography, flocks regularly to the mosque to capture perfect shots of the magnificence and brag about them on social media. The mosque was taken by international photographer Mark Loscombe White, who specializes in Arab architecture, for the cover of Architectural Digest Arabia in 2016.
“Like a lot of great buildings, I see this mosque as a mixture of luxury, heritage, faith and spirituality, and this combination adds a lot of charm to this place,” he told CNN Travel. And since we were alone while taking pictures, we had moments when we could pause and contemplate things without being distracted or disturbed, which made us truly feel the strength and grandeur of the building and the architectural perfection in which it was built. ”Luscombe-White and his team were granted special permission to photograph before dawn to avoid The large number of tourists flock to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque every day.
“We took the photographs of the exterior at 5 in the morning and were able to take shots of luxury, majesty and magnificence,” says White. While there were spacious and empty spaces, we preferred the emergence of people in the frame to convey to the viewer the feeling of the spaciousness of the place.
For those hoping to capture the perfect shot, White advises you should try to get there early if you can and look for a great shot and focus on it.
As for the crowds, White stated that instead of trying to avoid them, he inserted it into the frame, saying “one person can be a gift to life in a building like this.”
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque location and access roads
Taxis from Abu Dhabi city center are the fastest and most convenient way to get to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, as the journey takes only 20 minutes, and the prices are reasonable. As for the residents of Dubai, they must take a trip on the highway as the mosque is about 90 minutes away from the Dubai Mall, and it is a trip that all residents of the city of Dubai must take, whether he is a religious person or not. Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque does not need more than two hours, so we recommend that you visit one of the other tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi to make the most of your trip to the UAE capital.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located on Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and the phone number for the mosque is +97124191919.
A map of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque location
A video tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
- CNN Travel