#TravelThursday, Tips, Travel

Take Me to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi

One of the things that caught my attention when I checked into my hotel on Abu Dhabi, was the majestically beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque.The Mosque was literally across the waterway.And I could not wait to visit this place of beauty.Having done some research I was prepared to explore and could not contain my excitement.

My fascination with mosques started after my first Trip to Turkey and when I set eyes on the beautiful Blue Mosque. Before my trip to Abu Dhabi , I had googled images and was instantly drawn to the images of the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. 

But nothing could really prepare me for what  I saw and will always be etched in my mind and will leave me longing to visit again.

Like all places of worship there are certain rules that need to be followed on entering the Mosque and it is important to respect any place of worship.Below are a list of rules which will help you to prepare you for your visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Rules for entering the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque :

  1. No shoes are allowed in the Mosque. There is a shoe rack outside the entrance for you to leave your shoes before entering.
  2. Men must wear long pants and no shorts are allowed.
  3. Women must wear a headscarf covering their entire head. A long sleeve top must be worn as your wrists must not show. Long dresses or pants can be worn and must cover your ankles. No tight-fitting or revealing clothing can be worn.
  4. Men and women are not allowed to touch each other even if a photo is been taken.
  5. You will not be allowed into the mosque if you are not appropriately dressed. However you can hire cloaks and to wear.
  6. Non muslims are not allowed to touch the Qurans that are found inside the mosque.

By now I am guessing you are probably thinking is it really worth it to visit this Mosque ?
WELL  ?? Yes without a shadow of a doubt. After the security checks we entered the peaceful and tranquil grounds of the Mosque. I could not stop taking pictures on my phone and camera. Everything was so beautiful and picture perfect. I possibly took over 200 pictures just on the outside. The weather was extremely hot and considering I was covered from head to toe , I was relatively cool. The beautiful mesmerizing pools of water around the Mosque and all the Marble used in the construction of the Mosque seemed to keep it very cool. The beautiful gold columns leading down passages seemed out of a fairytale. Walking inside the Mosque I felt a feeling of calm and could not stop marvelling at this beautiful Mosque. The chandeliers with what seemed like a millions Swarovski glittered and the carpet was the softest ever. Did I really want to leave the Mosque?? No and yes I will go back and take a million more pics.

10 Facts about Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque :

  1. It is the largest mosque in the UAE.
  2. The mosque has 1000 columns.
  3. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the 7th largest in the World.
  4. The World’s largest hand-knotted carpet is found inside the mosque and it was designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi.
  5. The marble found in the Mosque comes from Greece, Italy ,China and Morocco.
  6. 82 domes are found in the Mosque.
  7. The mosque can accommodate 40 000 worshipers.
  8. The chandeliers are 24 carat gold gilded.
  9. The World’s largest Chandelier is found in this mosque and it was made in Germany from thousands of Swarvoski crystals from Austria and glass work from Italy.
  10. Construction of the mosque started in the year 2000 and was completed in 2007.

General information on the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque :

  • Entry is free and on entering one passes through a security system.If you are not appropriately dressed you will be taken to a changing room and given the necessary garments.
  • Opening times are 9am till 10pm  Saturday to Thursdays.On Fridays 16:30pm till 22h00.
  • Best times to visit is early morning and late evening as it is very hot and to avoid the crowds.
  • Take the free guided tour it is available at certain times of the day.
  • Photography is permitted inside and outside the mosque except for taking photos of the grave of Sheikh Zayed and the area around the tomb.
  • Visitors can walk around the main courtyard by themselves (at pretty much any time of day except Friday mornings), and inside the main mosque prayer hall (restricted during prayer times, Friday sermon times, and Ramadan).
  • Visitors must leave Prayer Hall during prayer times. Mosque and prayer hall closed to the general public on Fridays until about 1400 in the afternoon.
  • No eating ,smoking or drinking in the Mosque area.
  • Since 2007, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque has provided Iftar meals during Ramadan.
  • Meals are free, and non-Muslims are welcome.
  • Iftar (breaking of the daily fast) meals held in Grand Mosque carpark – capacity of up to 15,000.
  • The
  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque library location is in the north minaret.
  • The library contains books and other publications focused on Islamic subjects including arts, calligraphy, civilization, science.
  • Oldest publications are over 200 years old.
  • Publications in several languages including Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Korean and Spanish.
  •  Carry/Wear sunglasses -As the sun shines onto the pristine white marbled Mosque, you’re sure to be squinting your eyes.
  • Be prepared to take off your shoes before you enter the prayer hall.
  • The mosque is easily accessible by taxi’s and buses from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. If you are coming from Dubai, taxi’s are used to doing round trip rides to and from and the mosque and are willing to wait for you while you visit the Mosque.The trip from Dubai is roughly 90 minutes.
  • Be prepared to walk around barefoot so it is advisable to wear shoes or sandals that are easy to remove and put on.
  • Approximately you would need two hours to explore at leisure.

Do you visit places of worship when you travel ? What place of worship took your breath away? I would love to know. Check out this Abu Dhabi guide for more travel inspiration.

Still need some inspiration for Abu Dhabi read this guide on What to do in Abu Dhabi.

Be Inspired !

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47 thoughts on “Take Me to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi

  1. I have not yet been inside a grand mosque. But have only admired them from a distance. When I find myself in the UAE I will definitely have the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on my list of places to visit.

  2. Wow! 1000 columns and 40,000 worshipers are mind boggling. I saw some photos of this mosque before, and though they looked impressive, I didn’t realize how enormous it actually is. I can imagine how overwhelming it must be inside such a massive building.

  3. Ohh! I want to see the photos!!! I guess I will need to Google. 🙂 Haha! I bet it was absolutely beautiful! I am a huge lover of architecture even if it is a house of religion. I love seeing how they worship.

  4. This mosque is beautiful! I have only visited a couple of Muslim contries: Turkey and Morocco. Unfortunately mosques in Morocco can’t be visited unless you’re a Muslim, but the architecture in Turkey jusr blew me away.
    Hopefully I’ll have the chance to visit UAE soon to visit this one myself.

  5. I loved visiting this mosque!!! Do you know that the marble in the internal court is coming from Carrara, Italy, and it’s the only marble that doesn’t get warm under the sun? In fact when walking there you don’t feel your feet warm at all!

  6. We have only been through this city one time and it was just a plane change. We want to visit here so badly, having visited all of the mosques in Istanbul as you did this would be high on my list of places to visit. Great Photos.

  7. I’ve seen thousand pictures, and this Mosquee is by far one of the most beautiful ever. That being said, I’m so jealous! I’d love to go, because on purpose of the Art, I think this one of the most greatest oeuvre d’art! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I have visited a few mosques in India but none as big and as white as this one. The covering rules seem to be a bit extreme, but I suppose it’s a religious thing. The view from your hotel is breathtaking, I love how the mosque is illuminated in blue.

  9. I have not been inside too many mosques and despite having spent my childhood in Abu Dhabi, have not managed this mosque. Your post makes me even more curious now and hope that someday I get back here, just to see this. Love the tips that you have shared.

  10. I visited a mosque in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India, some years back… it is nothing like this place at all! Dubai has maintained good class and posh ambiance! Hope I get to see this some day!

  11. When I travel, I haven’t got the chance to visit worship places, coz it is the place which are more crowded. And Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is so beautiful… its Grand!

  12. Sheikh zayed mosque is an iconic beauty!! I totally agree with you, that even after all the rules, visiting these mosque is worth it. I’ve been to blue mosque and sheikh zayed and I was blown by the intricate details inside.

  13. any place of worship always have a different shape of the building. Very nice picture, this mosque looks magnificent. I would like to know more about this mosque.

  14. Great post Verushka 🙂 I have been to the Blue Mosque and was reliving the memories of when I was there throughout your post – the regulations, intricacies of the architecture. This mosque in Abu Dhabi sounds just as majestic! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. This is beautiful. I used to live in Dubai and have roamed around the UAE but back then I was too young to actually love travelling or understand it. I do not recall whether I have been here or not. But most definitely next time i visit the place, this ones on my list.

  16. I’ve heard a lot about the Sheikh Zayed mosque and read a few posts about this beautiful place. You have provided a detailed information guide about the mosque – especially the rules, which is very useful. A well written article with really nice pictures. I wonder how you managed to stay cool in that hot weather.

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