The Sheikh Zayed mosque stands in the Abu Dhabi like an iconic building that is a reminder that modern architecture can produce stunning structures.
The United Arab Emeritus has two iconic structures namely the Burj Khalifa Tower at Dubai and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque at Abu Dhabi. The mosque made in white color marble has drawn inspiration from the Badshahi mosque at Lahore. It's one of the largest mosques in the world and in terms of aesthetic beauty, it is unmatched.
The Mosque carries the name of Shiekh Zayed, the first ruler of UAE who is also known as the father of the Emeritus. It was his vision to build a mosque grander than any other that led to the construction of this mosque.
The mosque is made of white marble and has intricately designed minarets and domes. The domes are gold plated and they glisten in the bright sun.The mosque is also lit and at night one can see it from miles away. It is located about 15 km from the city center and can be easily reached by taxi or bus.
The mosque has a large courtyard for prayer and about 5000 believers can pray at one time. But the mosque is not used as a congregation for mass prayers every day and is used more as a tourist site that shows cases tolerant face of Islam and architecture of Abu Dhabi.
The mosque has strict rules for entry and all women who visit the mosque must cover their body and head.
In case a woman is wearing any other dress, a changing room is provided and a Hijab or burkha given on loan. All women are to wear it and keep their head covered. Security guards are placed at vantage points and they will admonish any woman uncovering her head when inside the mosque.
The mosque has intricately carved pillars and a wall to wall carpet that is reported to have been woven in Khazakhistan and brought to Abu Dhabi. It covers 5700 square meters and is indeed stupendous. The mosque has 80 domes held aloft by 1000 pillars and four minarets that reach to a height of 107 meters. The floors and walls are decorated with semi-precious stones like lapus lazuli, jasper, amethyst, red agate and more.
Entry to the mosque is free and one can enter the mosque at any time starting at 10 am. Conducted tours are also available at hourly intervals. The mosque is a beauty and has chandeliers made of 24-carat solid gold that add an aura of their own to the beauty of the construction.
No visit to the UAE is complete without a visit to the Grand Mosque which is also part of the BIg Bus an open roof tourist bus that takes visitors around the tourist sites of Abu Dhabi.
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