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Wednesday 28 December 2016

UAE 2016 Day 06: Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque

Truth be told we were never really interested in visiting mosques, and to be very clear it had nothing to do with the issue of faith. Where we come from, apart from a few notable exceptions we’ve often held the view if you’ve seen one mosque, you’ve seen them all. Well, in Malaysia anyway.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque however, is quite something else.

We arrived just as the sun was setting and its imposing size stood out as a large impressive silhouette in the Abu Dhabi evening sky. In order to visit the mosque Cat had to change into a brown abaya that the mosque authorities provided, something that quite plainly tickled her pink. Apparently the smallest abaya was still too large for Cat, and she spent the evening literally sweeping the floors here.

our first glimpse

the very finest

white marble

from Greece and Italy

as the sun sets

on this magnificent structure

3rd largest in the world

a true testament

to a great head of state

and founder of the UAE

For non-Muslim visitors, the visiting time is from 9:00AM to 10:00PM every day except for Friday mornings. Just some fun facts about this magnificent mosque:

  • The complex covers an area of 22,412 m2
  • 33,000 tons of steel and 250,000 m3 of concrete were used; They lay on 6,500 foundation piles
  • The courtyard has a total of 1,048 columns
  • A total of 82 domes belong to the mosque
  • The main dome is the largest mosque dome in the world: 85 metres high with a diameter of 32.8 metres.
  • Some 41,000 worshippers can be accommodated in the mosque while another 7,126 can pray in the main prayer hall

The mosque was finished with a decoration of Greek and Italian white marble, which is considered to be among the purest of the world.

very clear and precise

the outer courtyard

Brendan was enthralled with its reflection

this was what he captured

this too was Brendan's photo

Sern getting in on the act

worshipper and visitors alike

started milling in

large and imposing

yet calm and soothing

marvel of Arabic architecture

The mosque's spectacularly decorated interior features unique plants designed specifically for the mosque, as well as verses from the Holly Quran. In addition, the designers have also used mosaic to cover the entire courtyard (17,000 square metres) and thus it is considered among the largest open spaces in mosques worldwide.

can you spot Cat?

one of the many domes

again, clear and concise

view from the interior courtyard

framed by the evening sky

as the sun sets

the mosque will change its hue

from white to blue


spectacularly decorated interior 

the path seems to go on forever

intricate yet simple

the sun slowly sets

view of yet another dome 
from the inside looking out

both worshippers and visitors welcomed warmly

we weren't sure

if there were more visitors than worshippers

17,000 square metres of courtyard covered in mosaic

the pillars adorned with...

motifs of unique plants 

designed specifically for the mosque

can you spot Brendan?

slowly turning from white to blue 

Major international companies specialised in the manufacturing of crystal chandeliers garnished the mosque with seven gold-plated chandeliers in different sizes, made of Swarovski crystals. The largest of the lustres is the largest in the world.

we entered the bowels

more spectacular sights

one chandelier

after another

adn another

adorning each large dome

gold-plated chandeliers 

different sizes

made of Swarovski crystals

yup, you got that right...

made of Swarovski crystals!

each chandelier

8 in all

we could never get enough

our necks were cramping up after a while

a small price to pay, really

After a good two hours we made our way out of the mosque, but not before a few last parting shots.

the white marble

soon turned blue
as we left the mosque

the entire complex

still captivated us

even from afar

as it illuminated the night sky

walking away

we couldn't tear our eyes away



three more shots

and a final shot

as we headed to the parking lot

Built as a monument to consolidate Islamic culture and a prominent centre for Islamic sciences and named after the founder and first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan this is the third largest mosque in the world - after the ones in Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia, and no wonder!

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