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Overview

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque stands as an immense architectural masterpiece, blending diverse Islamic architectural styles, and leaving a lasting impact on history. It proudly holds the distinction of being one of the world’s largest mosques, adorned with 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, magnificent 24-carat gold-gilded chandeliers, and housing the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. Within its grandeur, the main prayer hall is graced by one of the world’s most substantial chandeliers.

Constructed by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the mosque carries a profound purpose – to symbolize historic significance and embody the noble Islamic principles of peace, tolerance, and diversity. It was conceived as a living testament to modern Islamic architecture, seamlessly bridging the past and present. Sheikh Zayed envisioned the Grand Mosque as a haven of Islamic knowledge and learning, reflecting the authentic values of Islam.

Key Architectural Elements

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one of the world’s largest mosques, is a magnificent architectural masterpiece that intentionally combines various styles from different Islamic architectural schools. It boasts 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, opulent 24-carat gold-gilded chandeliers, and the largest hand-knotted carpet in the world. Within the mosque, the main prayer hall is adorned with an imposing chandelier, ranking among the world’s largest.

Minarets

Four minarets grace the mosque, each towering approximately 106 meters in height. These minarets showcase a harmonious fusion of Mameluke, Ottoman, and Fatimid architectural styles. Comprising three distinctive geometric shapes, the minarets illustrate the architectural heritage of different eras. The minaret base adopts a square shape, reflecting influences from Moroccan, Andalusian, and Mameluke styles. The middle section features an octagonal design reminiscent of the Mameluke era (13th to 16th centuries). The upper cylindrical section draws inspiration from the Ottoman era (14th to 20th centuries). Crowning these minarets are lanterns adorned with gold-glass mosaics, paying homage to the elegance of the Fatimid era (10th to 12th centuries).

Carpet

Within the main prayer hall lies the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, an intricate marvel of Islamic design. Crafted by the skilled third-generation carpet maker and artist, Dr. Ali Khaliqi, the carpet showcases a mesmerizing Islamic medallion pattern. This predominantly wool, single-piece carpet spans an impressive 5,700 square meters and required the dedicated craftsmanship of approximately 1,200 artisans. The project, encompassing eight months for design and twelve months for knotting, took a total of two years to complete.

Breathtaking Chandeliers

When you visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque, be sure not to miss the mesmerizing crystal chandeliers. Created by Faustig, a renowned German company specializing in exquisite crystal craftsmanship, these chandeliers are truly exceptional. Each one at the Grand Mosque is meticulously crafted from gilded stainless steel and brass, featuring a remarkable 40kg of gold. Among them, the chandelier in the main prayer hall stands out as one of the largest ever used in a mosque, weighing an astounding 12 tons. In fact, it ranks as the second largest chandelier in the world. Prepare to be captivated by their splendor!

Impressive Collection Of Domes

One of the mosque’s iconic features is its abundance of domes, totaling 82 in number. The largest dome takes center stage in the main prayer hall, with an impressive diameter of 32.8 meters (106 ft) and towering to a remarkable height of 85 meters (279 ft). Should you have the opportunity to glimpse inside these domes, you’ll discover traditional Moroccan artwork adorning their interiors, adding to their allure.

Assembly Of  96 Pillars

When it came to constructing Sheikh Zayed Mosque, no detail was overlooked. The main prayer hall boasts a magnificent collection of 96 pillars, each adorned with intricate floral designs and adorned with exquisite mother-of-pearl detailing. Walking amidst these pillars is a truly awe-inspiring experience that showcases the mosque’s unparalleled beauty.

Fascinating Facts about Sheikh Zayed Mosque

No trip to Abu Dhabi is complete without experiencing the awe-inspiring Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. With its 82 domes, towering minarets, and expansive expanse of gleaming white marble, this sacred structure will undoubtedly leave you breathless. Here is everything you need to know about the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

It’s the largest mosque in the UAE

Sheikh Zayed Mosque is an immense place of worship, capable of accommodating over 40,000 visitors. As the largest mosque in the UAE and the third largest in the world, the complex spans over 22,400 square meters. The main prayer hall can hold more than 7,000 worshippers, while two smaller prayer halls have a capacity of 1,500 each. Such is the magnitude of the mosque that it required over 100,000 tonnes of Greek and Macedonian marble for its construction.

It’s a masterpiece of modern Islamic architecture

The project, with a budget of 2.5 billion AED, spanned 12 years, commencing in 1996. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque showcases a fusion of classic Mamluk, Ottoman, and Fatimid architectural styles. Notably, it incorporates a remarkable lighting system that reflects the lunar phases, projecting ever-changing colors onto the mosque’s exterior to correspond with the moon. Its interior harmoniously blends traditional Middle Eastern arched doorways and geometric shapes with contemporary and innovative design elements.

The mosque is named in honor of a significant individual

The Grand Mosque pays tribute to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the esteemed “founding father” and inaugural president of the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Zayed held this distinguished position for over 33 years until his passing in 2004, shortly before the completion of the mosque. Today, his resting place can be found within the mosque’s serene courtyard. Notably, many other notable landmarks worldwide bear the name of Sheikh Zayed, including a lecture theater at the London School of Economics, an airport in Kukës, Albania, and the 5th ring road in Kuwait.

It was built by an international team of artisans

While exuding an Arabic appearance and design, the creation of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque was a collaborative effort involving construction companies from around the globe. Italian engineers Salini Impregilo led a workforce of 3,000 individuals from 38 contracting companies. Skilled artisans hailing from India, Germany, Egypt, Turkey, the United Kingdom, China, and Pakistan contributed their expertise to the project.

Over the course of those 11 years, 38 different contracting companies and a workforce of more than 3,000 skilled individuals and artisans tirelessly contributed their expertise to transform the visionary concept into reality. Today, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque stands as a testament to their collective efforts, boasting reflective pools, a marble mosaic courtyard, opulent designs, and an enduring grandeur that renders it one of the most spectacular landmarks in the United Arab Emirates.

A world-record carpet by Guinness

Within the main prayer hall of Sheikh Zayed Mosque, an extraordinary achievement awaits. The Persian carpet adorning the floor claims the prestigious title of being the largest hand-knotted carpet globally, certified by Guinness World Records. Encompassing a sprawling area of 5,700 square metres, this remarkable carpet underwent a meticulous two-year process of creation, trimming, and transportation to its final destination at the mosque.

A team of around 1,200 skilled artisans dedicated their craftsmanship to weave and assemble nine distinct sections into a single, awe-inspiring masterpiece. Fashioned from a blend of 70% wool and 30% cotton, this magnificent Persian carpet beckons many to partake in prayer within the resplendent hall of the mosque. Should you aspire to engage in salah within this breathtaking space, it is advisable to stay attuned to the prayer times in Dubai.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque boasts the largest hand-knotted carpet

It’s an impressive accomplishment. Within the main prayer hall of the mosque, you can witness a magnificent hand-knotted carpet. Over the course of almost two years, more than 1,200 individuals contributed to its creation. The design alone took eight months, followed by a year of meticulous knotting. An additional two months were spent joining the various sections of the design together. It’s truly a sight to behold!

The lighting system changes with the moon

Prepare to be amazed by the mosque’s exceptional lighting system. With 22 light towers projecting a soft blue-grey hue onto the exterior, the lighting changes to reflect the current phase of the moon each night. If you’re planning a visit to Abu Dhabi, consider scheduling an evening visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque to witness this captivating display. It’s one of the most fascinating facts about the mosque!

Over 40,000 people can worship simultaneously at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Given its immense size, the Grand Mosque can accommodate approximately 41,000 worshippers at once, with the main prayer hall alone accommodating 10,000 individuals. The mosque serves as a vital place of worship for daily prayers and Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer). Jumu’ah takes place shortly after midday every Friday, and you’ll hear the call to prayer approximately 10-15 minutes prior to its commencement. It’s a truly beautiful sound, one that resonates with the spirit of the mosque.

All in the detail

It’s the intricate details that truly make the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque a stunning masterpiece. Embedded within the columns are semi-precious stones like amethyst, lapis lazuli, and jasper. Delicate floral patterns crafted from mother of pearl radiate from the walls. Six exquisite Faustig chandeliers, adorned with sparkling Swarovski crystals and 24-carat gold plating, gracefully hang from the ceiling. The largest chandelier, suspended from the central dome’s roof, mesmerizes viewers from a height of 15 meters.

White symbolizes purity

The timeless allure of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque owes much to the captivating presence of white marble. The late H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan deliberately selected white marble for the mosque’s construction, symbolizing peace and purity. With a staggering 100,000 tonnes of pristine white marble imported from Macedonia, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi stands as a beacon of serenity. The white marble serves as an inher mjent characteristic, endowing the mosque with its distinct persona and sublime magnificence.

Precision and time for perfection

The creation of the architectural marvel that is Sheikh Zayed Mosque demanded unwavering dedication and meticulous craftsmanship spanning a remarkable 11 years. The construction commenced in 1996 and finally concluded in 2007, when the doors of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque opened for worshippers. Regrettably, this momentous occasion occurred three years after the passing of H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose final resting place now graces the mosque’s serene courtyard.

Open to non-Muslim visitors

Sheikh Zayed Mosque warmly welcomes non-Muslim visitors and offers free guided tours in English or Arabic. The mosque is open from Saturday to Thursday, between 09:00 and 22:00, and on Fridays from 16:30 to 22:00. Abayas, traditional garments for women, and long trousers for men are provided for those who need them. Don’t forget to bring your sunglasses to shield your eyes from the dazzling white surfaces.

FAQS

  1. What makes Sheikh Zayed Mosque special?

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque stands out for its stunning designs and intricate details, including the world’s largest marble mosaic floors and distinctive domes adorned with beautiful gold leaf spires, symbolizing global unity.

  1. How much gold is used in Sheikh Zayed Mosque?

The mosque features seven crystal chandeliers made by Faustig, crafted from gilded stainless steel and brass, with a total of 40 kg of 24-carat galvanized gold.

  1. What are some interesting facts about Sheikh Zayed?

Sheikh Zayed, named after his grandfather Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, showed a keen interest in falconry. At the time of his birth, Abu Dhabi was one of the Trucial States along the Persian Gulf coast, ruled by his grandfather from 1855 to 1909.

  1. Is there an entry fee for Sheikh Zayed Mosque?

No, there is no entry fee to visit the mosque. It is open to tourists every day from 9 am to 10 pm, except for Friday mornings. On Fridays, the mosque opens at 4:30 pm and closes at 10 pm. Free tours are available daily.

  1. Can females pray at Sheikh Zayed Mosque?

Yes, it is very common to see both men and women attending sermons and prayers at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, including on Fridays.

 

 

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