The first glimpse of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque tickles your senses; as you enter the premise, it amuses you; by the time you stand below first dome, you start to feel artistic musings in your spine; while free strolling the mosque, intricate carvings activate your right brain brain, finally when you reach grand hall through corridor, you feel completely jolted with its beauty, magnanimity. It is the best and finest example of Islamic Architecture which can rival Taj Mahal.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi –
The finest example of Islamic Art
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi is the finest example of Islamic art as it presents a mixture of Mughal, Moorish, Ottoman and Persian architecture. It epitomized a superlative fusion of traditional Islamic architecture with innovative science of modern designs. With grace and aplomb, it has embraced best of both world which mesmerizes every visitor.
For me, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a bundle of ecstasy made up of marble which can rival the Taj Mahal, the top wonders of our world. Interesting facts about Sheikh Zayed Mosque makes it a must visit place in Abu Dhabi. It is most visited tourist attraction of Abu Dhabi. In years to come, I believe, it will be voted as the modern wonders of the world.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque –
World’s third most favorite landmark
More than five million people visit this grand place every year to feel the awe inspiring floral mosaics, golden arches, marble domes and vast courtyard, which have earned it the title of world’s third favorite landmark by travel website TripAdvisor for 2018 ahead of Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and Eiffel Towers.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi –
A future wonders of the world
Some 400 years back, Shahjahan of Mughal Dynasty, then the richest empire, built Taj Mahal for his lost love and in 1990s Sheikh Zayed charged with heavy flow of petro-dollars decided to create a never seen, never heard of extravaganza of marble. Such building is not possible in a democratic setup of our modern world and someone like Sheikh Zayed, who had the authority and a zeal for writing future history could only dream of building such a grand structure.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi –
Two world records
Emirates of UAE are known for their craziness about world records of all kinds. With huge cash at disposal, they believe in creating world record which also ensures more tourists for them. Sheikh Zayed Mosque holds two official world records:
World’s Largest Carpet From Iran
The world’s largest carpet, handmade, which is 5627 square meters. Weighing 47 tonnes, this huge carpet is made of over 2.2 billion nodes using wool and cotton under the supervision of Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi who deployed 1,200 specialized artisans of Iran for this project.
The largest chandelier of the world
The largest chandelier in the world in main prayer hall which is 15 meters high and 10 meters in diameter made in Germany with thousands of Swarovski crystals from Austria and colorful glasswork from Italy.
Interesting facts about Shiekh Zayed Grand Mosque
- The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was the vision of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, known as the Father of UAE. He wanted to create a larger than life building showcasing tolerant version of Islamic faith which will accept everyone from every faith and become a symbol of peace, diversity and harmony.
- The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the most important place of worship for Muslims in the all of UAE and considered as the eighth largest mosque in the world with a capacity of accommodating 40,000 worshipers at one time.
- It’s an enigmatic story written on naturally procured marble and fused with other construction material like gold, crystals, mother of pearl and semiprecious stones.
- Its 82 domes of white marble are a landmark on the horizon creating a grand first impression on every visitor.
- The construction started in 1996 and took 12 years to complete with a total estimated cost of USD 700 million. A total of 3,000 workers, craftsman and artisans from around the world were deployed, including from Italy, Germany, Morocco, Macedonia, India, Turkey, China, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece and the UAE to build the mosque making it truly a place that unites the world.
- Most of the mosques of the world are built in one style but this modern Islamic architecture is inspired from Mughal, Moorish, Persian and Ottoman architecture which makes it unique. Domes are borrowed from Ottoman, Uniformity and gardens from Mughal, Intricate carvings from Persian and arches from Moorish.
- More than 100,000 tons of pure and natural white Greek and Macedonian marble were used in the construction which has four towering minarets of 106 meters each and a courtyard spread over 17000 square meters having beautiful floral work.
- It’s unique lighting system is mapped with lunar phases which projects colours onto the mosque’s exterior according to the moon.
- The grand mosque includes a library that consist of classic books dating back to 200 years on a wide range of subjects from Islamic art, calligraphy, science and more in different languages.
- It houses the final resting place of the Sheikh Zayed who was buried in the courtyard of the Mosque.
Important thing to know
before you visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
- Driving from Dubai takes about 1:30 hours to reach
- It is free to enter.
- Timings – 9:00-22:00 Saturday-Thursday and 16:30-22:00 on Fridays
- Give yourself 2-3 hours to feel the place
- Best time of the day – Evening hours to see the real magic of lights
- Dress Code – Cover up properly or else you will not be allowed to enter. Women can take Abaya at the entrance.
- We would suggest you to take guided tour available inside for free
- Personal food and refreshments are not allowed inside the mosque. Inside the mosque, there is a cafe with limited food options.
- Visit mosque’s site for every detail before you plan your visit – Click Here
- Please be respectful to everything and everyone
A Brief note on Sheikh Zayed – Father of UAE
The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan was instrumental in bringing seven Trucial states (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain) together and establishing UAE after Britishers left in 1968. He created the entity from virtually nothing on December 2 1971 and as President of UAE wrested the cluster of emirates from sleepy backwardness and age old tribal setup transforming it into a modern economic dynamo. Under his stewardship, UAE achieved superlative success and in less than 3 decades after Britishers left become a literal phenomenon of modern world on the backdrop of felicitous discovery of Oil.
Instead of squandering money earned from Oil, he invested in building nation and built a strong set up of good governance and infrastructure. His vision was to create a strong rooted nation which can last longer than the oils in the wells. Sheikh Zayed had a far reaching vision and a strong determination to reform which earned him the moniker, “Wise man of the Arab” as he cared for whole arab world and faought for their rights in every international forum.
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My tryst with Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
When I first visited Taj Mahal in 1999, it was love at first sight and I was completely sold to the gorgeous and ethereal beauty called Taj Mahal. And, now after 2 decades, again I felt the same overwhelming flow of emotions when I experienced the phenomenon called Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque embraced me tightly with its charming aura, its grandeur presence and its shining glory. It let the traveler inside me actually achieved Maslow’s self actualization. For times to come, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will have a superlative impact on my psyche as I have never seen anything which is so pristine, so extravagant and so beautiful. Here I could feel the real meaning of being overwhelmed as it is just impossible not to feel overwhelmed by the opulence which oozes from each corner.
Did you every feel such strong overflow of emotions while seeing any architectural marvel. Do share your story from your such experience in the comments below.
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