Two words: breathtakingly beautiful.
Say hello to United Arab Emirates’ largest mosque: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, this mosque is established and named after UAE’s first president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
This beauty took almost 12 years, more than 38 contracting companies, and 3 500 workers just to be made; proving that beautiful things truly take time and are always worth the long wait. It was also built 11 meters above sea level and 9.5 meters above street level because the Sheikh wanted it to be seen in all directions.
I was aware that there is a strict proper dress code and female guests will be given an abaya (a clock or loose-over garment worn by Muslim women) inside if their outfit is not appropriate. Male guests can go inside freely without changing, however, if wearing shorts, should wear the traditional kandora that can also be given at the entrance.
We went there on a Saturday, lunchtime, and thought that there should only be a few people visiting because it’s noon but we were proven wrong. The place was still crowded by – probably – tourists on vacation, as well.
Once inside, you will see this courtyard with 1 028 columns, all creatively hand-painted with flowers on it. This mosque also has 82 domes made of pure white marble making it its predominant color which symbolizes purity and piety. The largest dome is located at the center of the prayer hall with 85 meters high and a diameter of 32.8 meters.
When heading to the main prayer room, everyone is required to leave footwear outside and walk barefooted inside.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is unquestionably grand. The grandest of them all. I never even thought that I would have a hard time writing this post because I am lacking the perfect adjectives to describe how wonderful this place is.
The mosque also has seven colossal gold-plated chandeliers in different sizes and each was made of Swarovski crystals. The one on the photo below is the largest of the seven and is also one of the largest chandeliers in the world.
Another astonishing feature of the mosque is its over 5 625 square-meter large carpet in the main prayer hall. Hand-knotted by about 1 300 craftsmen from Iran out of 35 tons of wool and 12 tons of cotton, with a total of 2 268 000 knots, making it the largest one-piece carpet in the world.
If you can also see closely, there are horizontal lines slightly raised over the primary carpet height, all made for the worshiper’s alignment.
Everything is well thought of. Everything is intricately decorated with artworks that will leave you in awe. Kumbaga sa tao, sobrang perfect from head to toe.
Just be reminded that this is still a place of worship. There are certain poses that you cannot do and don’t even dare try. Rihanna was forced to leave this place because she was literally lying down on the floor for a photo (and gossip was she was banned in the UAE for a few years because of this). So even if she’s one of your pegs in life, please give respect where respect is due.
And I’m not even kidding with you, guys. Kahit i-zoom n’yo ‘yung photo above, seryosong lahat sila may details kahit pinaka-ceiling. Amazing.
This place is also as beautiful as it is at night. They use a very special lighting system in evening hours that follows phases of the moon and is said that they gradually become lighter as the moon becomes full. So whether your visit is in the afternoon or night, it is worth the trip.
Did you find the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque beautiful, as well? Book your flight now to Abu Dhabi and find a place to stay through Agoda. See you around!