I am not really sure when history, tradition and art started to interest me, but I remember being fond of them in grammar school already. I guess this make some sense, why I like to travel as much as I do.
Even though development affected UAE’s tradition and history greatly (not much is left behind), we can still find some amazing sights and attractions, which are far from the fancy skyscrapers everyone knows.
Traveling to UAE was full of surprises and Simon and I both agreed that a visit to Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi was one of the highlights of the whole trip. If you think you can skip Abu Dhabi, think again!
Taking an hour or two of your time to visit this amazing Sheikh Zayed mosque is definitely not time wasting, especially if you were impressed over the Taj Mahal in India. The Sheikh Zayed mosque can be put head to head with the Indian monument of love!
The Sheikh Zayed mosque got its name after the first president of the UAE – Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahya. His vision was to bring different people together in harmony, no matter their culture, tradition and religion.
The main and easy seen feature of Sheikh Zayed mosque is its white color, but the Sheigh Zayed mosque is stunning in more ways. It’s recognized for its white marble, semi-precious stones, more than 1000 columns, 82 marble domes, the largest hand-made carpet in the world, the world’s biggest chandelier, lots of gold, crystal… Do we need to say more?
Interesting facts about Sheikh Zayed mosque
- The Sheikh Zayed mosque is the 3rd largest in the world (the first two are in Mecca and Medina)
- The area, covering 22.000 sqm, can welcome more than 40.000 worshippers
- The Sheikh Zayed mosque is decorated by the world’s largest hand-made carpet. Two years and more than 1300 women were needed to make it. It weighs 45 tons and it is said to be 8,5 million USD worth.
- The magnificent chandelier in the middle of the praying hall was made in Germany and is covered with Swarovski crystals, colored glass from Italy and 24 carats gold. Its value is rated at 8 million USD.
- The white marble, which you can see on the outside, was brought from Greece. The white marble indoor originates from China, Italy and Morocco.
- The lighting of the Sheikh Zayed mosque is one of a kind – it is totally synchronized with moon phases. The fuller moon on the sky, the brighter the lightning of the Sheikh Zayed mosque.
- The mosque is the last resting place of its builder – Sheikh Zayed. His funeral was also the very first ceremony in the mosque.
A visit to the Sheikh Zayed mosque
To be able to visit the Sheikh Zayed mosque, you should be properly dressed. Men needs to wear long trousers (T-shirts is OK), when women have to have trousers/skirts reaching their ankles. Women clothes should not be close-fitted and transparent. Don’t also forget to have your hair covered, using a scarf. If you’re not dressed according to the rules, you can also borrow its traditional clothes (men – white dishdash, women – black abaya). All you need is a passport and 50 AED (per person) as security deposit, which you get back, when returning the clothes without any damages.
Parking at Sheikh Zayed mosque
If you are traveling around UAE with a rented vehicle, you will be pleased to find out that Sheikh Zayed mosque offers a large free parking for all visitors.
Entrance fee for Sheikh Zayed mosque
All visitors have a free entrance to Sheikh Zayed mosque. The visiting hours are from Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 10pm. Friday is the main day for all Muslims and it is time for praying, so the Sheikh Zayed mosque does not open its doors before 4:30 pm. There are even free guided tours available.
Coordinates for Sheikh Zayed mosque
24°24.34.9 / 54°28.29.9
The Sheikh Zayed mosque is amazing in many ways. Its architecture and design is truly breathtaking! If you ask us, the mosque has more charm than all the modern and fancy buildings for which UAE are famous for. Visiting the Sheikh Zayed mosque you also realized how ahead of time Sheikh Zayed was – he wanted to connect the world and its people in harmony – it is nice to see that his vision continues with every new visitor; a worshipper or a traveler.