The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an epitome of grandeur and harmony. It is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. Often referred as the ‘White Pearl of the Gulf’, the Grand Mosque is the third largest mosque in the world and largest in the country.
The structure was planned and executed by the first President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He was the ruler of Abu Dhabi for more than three decades. Because of his contribution in forming the United Arab Emirates, he is referred to as the ‘Father of the Nation’ in UAE.
Grand and Unique
True to its name, the mosque is grand indeed. In fact, grand is an understatement. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque stands tall with all its glory and opulence. It’s special in its own right. Not because the luxurious mosque is the main place of worship for the people of Abu Dhabi.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is unique and one of its kind because it echos a combination of world cultures and Islamic beliefs. The fact that it epitomises unity and harmony makes it special.
What’s special about Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque?
Sheikh Zayed was always known for his religious faith and generosity. His natural instinct of uniting people led to the construction of this spectacular place of worship. As a visionary, Sheikh Zayed wanted the Grand Mosque to reflect the genuine Islamic values of tolerance and coexistence. At the same time, embrace the modern world cultures.
It is Abu Dhabi’s pride. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque welcomes everyone regardless of age, sex and religion.
At this point of time, it’s not easy to find such a place. Moreover, in a world where Islam is usually attached to radical ideologies, it is even harder.
Contrary to common belief, the Grand Mosque has sent out the message of co-existence. Loud and clear. This beautiful white marble structure embodies peace and courage.
Over the past few years the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has embraced people from across the globe. Most importantly, it literally preached and practiced the reason behind its foundation. Visitors from all religion, caste and creed have enjoyed its captivating beauty. Millions of tourist visit the mosque to appreciate its stunning architecture, opulence and grandeur.
It took over 12 years to complete this architectural wonder. This palatial structure was constructed at a reported cost of $545 million.
A combination of world culture and Islamic values
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque signifies a unique blend of Islamic beliefs & tradition and contemporary cultural ethos. Tiny details of each and every corner of the mosque has been taken care of with utmost sincerity.
His Highness Sheikh Zayed always wanted the mosque to showcase the architectural styles of various Muslim civilizations. He also envisioned the structure to represent cultural diversity. As a result, people from different parts of the world were involved for its foundation. For example, the chief architects were British, Italian and Emirati.
Moreover, the designs are inspired by other Islamic countries including Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey. The symmetrical and repetitive design elements of the glass doors and windows reflect Islamic tradition. The walls of the prayer hall are beautifully decorated with traditional Islamic floral designs.
The building materials were flown from across the globe including Greece, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Germany, Austria and New Zealand. Thus, incorporating other countries and their popular products.
This humongous structure involved 3,000 artisans and 38 global construction companies. More than 100,000 tonnes of pure white Macedonian and Greek marble were used in the building this massive mosque.
This magnificent piece of art and architecture truly represent unity of world cultures through showcasing the diversity of the same.
Please Note: The official website the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque provides all the necessary information during pandemic.
6 Unique Features of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
First and foremost, the mosque is made out of pure white marble. It has 82 spectacular onion-top domes, the largest of which is at the centre of the main prayer hall. To clarify, the extraordinarily large mosque can accommodate 40,000 worshipers at the same time.
Secondly, the Grand Mosque has four minarets. Each of them has three unique geometric shapes including a square, an octagon and a cylinder. This spectacular beauty is a must visit in UAE.
Moreover, the main prayer hall is layered with a largest hand-knotted carpet in the world. This artistic gem is primarily made of Iranian cotton and New Zealand wool. It is a single-unit carpet of 5,700 square meters. These gorgeous carpets are made by the third-generation carpet maker Dr. Ali Khaliqi. It is hand-crafted by approximately 1,200 artisans!
In addition, the Grand Mosque houses seven crystal chandeliers carefully crafted by Faustig of Munich, Germany. The largest one weighs 12 tonnes!
Thoughtful Lighting System
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the Islamic religious calendar is highly dependent on the lunar cycle. Taking the inspiration from the Islamic traditions, the unique lighting system resemble various phases of the moon. Additionally, there are 22 light towers to light up the Grand Mosque at night. These lights use a bluish gray colour on the exterior walls.
Use of Precious Metals and Stones
Another unique feature of the mosque is the use of naturally occurring materials. As a result, we can see ample use of marble, semi-precious stones, crystals, pearls and ceramic are predominant in the mosque. Last but not the least, this opulent mosque is decorated with 24-karat gold, used to beautify the columns and chandeliers.
A symbol of unity and acceptance, this stunning work of art is considered one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that Sheikh Zayed chose this mosque to be his final resting place. He passed away in 2004.
Related: You can also log on to the Abu Dhabi Tourism Website for more information.