Another first for us this week, was visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. We booked a late deal for one night in a hotel in Abu Dhabi, and jumped in the car for the 1 hr 20 min car ride. Thursday morning we drove straight to the Grand Mosque, and what a sight it was!
It truly was beautiful! The grander of it, the architecture, the design, the thought, care and skill that had gone into making this magnificent building is just breath taking. I always seem to find it hard to take everything in when visiting places like this. I think when you are there it is quite overwhelming and you almost don't know where to look first!
The bright white building shines in the sun, almost like a mirage and its hard to believe how massive it is! It is somehow delicate yet solid and commanding at the same time.
So for those who are interested, here are some facts about the Grand Mosque...
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was a dream in the heart of the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan
- The mosque accommodates more than 40,000 worshippers; 10,000 in the internal areas and 30,000 in the external areas.
- There were more than 38 contractors and thousands of workers involved with completing various elements of the structure and decoration. Materials were also sourced from many countries including Greece, Italy, Germany, China, Austria, India and New Zealand to name a few.
- It features four minarets and eighty-two domes, representing different Islamic styles.
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque sits majestically at the entrance to Abu Dhabi City Island, distinctly visible from the three main bridges connecting the island to the main land, the Maqta, Mussafah and the Sheikh Zayed Bridge. The strategic geographical location of the Mosque is a symbolic expression of the emotional connection the Mosque has in the hearts of all UAE citizens particularly because the burial place of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, first President of the UAE, is located beside the mosque.
- The pure white colour of the Mosque has become one of its most distinguishing characteristics. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the Mosque was fond of the colour white, a symbol of purity and piety. The SZGM is cladded with numerous quantity of white marble on the external surfaces.
- The main prayer hall houses the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. The intricate Islamic medallion design was made by third generation carpet maker and artist, Dr. Ali Khaliqi. The predominantly wool carpet was hand-crafted by approximately 1,200 artisans. Its creation was a two year project, the design took approximately 8 months, the knotting 12 months and the remaining time to transport, trim and weave the pieces together. The final single piece carpet is 5,700 square meters, about 70% being wool and the rest of 30% is cotton.
- There are seven crystal chandeliers made by Faustig (Munich, Germany) situated inside the halls and foyers. The largest (located in the main prayer hall and considered one of the world’s largest in a mosque and is weighing approximately 12 tons.
William enjoyed it too, although it was hard at times when he didn't seem to understand that you were meant to be quiet and not run around like a nutter! Places like this will probably just wash over him, but i'm sure we will visit it again when he is a bit older.
Women visiting the mosque need to be covered up; my mum and i borrowed an abaya (cloak with a hood), and you have to have your head covered. Men should wear trousers. It is free to go in, and you can probably do it all in about an hour or so.
A lovely experience and a wonderful treasure to visit while in Abu Dhabi.