Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque Visit – Abu Dhabi

My this post was from couple of years ago and wanted to redo as I am in the process of planning our next adventure and were thinking of taking stop over in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Qatar. We were impressed with this building. Probably because of modern architecture doesn’t often “do it” for me.

Grand Mosque Sheikh Al Zayed

I loved the inlaid marble – deceptively simple organic designs combined with overstated chandeliers. This is an incredibly beautiful building. It is huge and filled with the most amazing things. Our guide, Mohammed explained in simple language all the things that will seem “different” to a first timer visiting a mosque. He invited questions and we were able to ask many of the things that perhaps we would have felt uncomfortable asking without being prompted. You come out feeling new with wider knowledge of Islam. Normally non muslims are not allowed into Mosques but it was the vision of the late Sheik Zayed that if we were allowed to visit and gain a greater understanding then that knowledge could only foster a better world. From my perspective he was absolutely correct. We urge you to visit if in Abu Dhabi and you will not be disappointed at the sheer spectacle that is the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.
This really is a stunning building and the decoration is superb. The chandeliers are breathtaking. It is very impressive and I am really glad we went. It also looks stunning at night. We passed it to and from the airport.

I think that this place is well worth a visit if you are in Abu Dhabi. Its free to get in and costs about 30 Dirham from the city centre by Taxi. There are free tours. Our taxi driver waited for us as the driver told us there would be no taxis to take us back to city centre but noticed when we left there were many taxis waiting.

It is open from Sunday to Thursday, afternoon viewing only on Fridays and better go there in the morning before noon. You must not miss this opportunity for it is not usual for the UAE to open it’s mosque to the public especially to non Muslims so Sheik Zayed Mosque is also a gesture of the generosity and hospitality of the UAE Government. The mosque was built for the late Sheik Zayed Al Nayan, Father of the UAE who worked hard and dedicated his whole life in uniting the seven emirate states and giving the life and prosperity the country is enjoying today. This magnificent mosque is just a reflection of his vision, peace, beauty, prosperity and respect. Entering the mosque there is a dress code but you do not have to worry because it will all be provided for you. There are young Emiratis that will serve as your tour guides, who are not only very fluent in English but also very friendly and accommodating to all questions too and free of charge. I have seen other mosques in other countries too but this mosque have a charm that you will be amazed with the magnificent work of art in every inch. Imagine that it took more than 10 years in the making. Almost 3,000 craftsmen built this mosque. So, no doubt that you will appreciate everything in it from the pillars decorated with 24 carats gold leaf to the domes, to the beautiful floral designed marble walls with almost all kinds of bright colours, the huge hand made carpets, the pillars inside the praying area decorated with mother of pearls and the chandeliers so huge made from pure crystals. Even the glass doors with beautiful designs are just amazing. This mosque is really a vast display of wealth but it is just worth its price for the man who have given the UAE honour and pride. Time will pass and years will go by and I am pretty sure that this mosque will be considered one of the most magnificent structures in the world! So, don’t miss to see it for your trip to Abu Dhabi. Your trip will not complete if you won’t visit this No.1 attraction in Abu Dhabi.

We would strongly recommend if you can join the free information tours offered. Check their website for tour timings but during our visit there was one at 11am which was perfect.
We enjoyed the public tour very much; guides were very informative and well trained, with demonstrated passion for the mosque and its architectural marvels.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque stands out as one of the world’s largest mosques, and the only one that captures unique interactions between Islam and world cultures. Sheikh Zayed’s vision for the Grand Mosque was to incorporate architectural styles from different Muslim civilisations and celebrate cultural diversity by creating a haven that is truly diverse and inspirational in its foundation. The mosque’s architects were British, Italian and Emirati, and design inspiration was from Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, and Egypt among other Islamic countries, revealing a glistening architectural marvel with an astonishing capacity of 40,000 worshippers and visitors.

The open-door policy invites tourists from all around the world who can witness the spectacular domes, the reflective pools that engulf the courtyard and the iconic prayer hall, which not only overflows with blissful sunlight, but also houses the world’s biggest chandelier and carpet, both meticulously handmade. Be sure to spot the calligraphy encircling the hollows of the domes, etched with verses from the Quran and painted with gold leaves in An-Naskh lettering.

Quick Facts about the Mosque:

1. Construction began in 1996, and wasn’t completed till December 2007. During this time more than 3000 workers took part in its construction.

2. It’s made up of mostly natural materials such as marble, stone, gold, crystals and semi-precious stones.

3. It’s the largest Mosque in the United Arab Emirates, measuring 950ft x 1,380ft and covering approximately 30 acres.

4. The carpet in the main prayer hall is said to be the largest single piece of handmade carpet in the world, measuring around 67,570 square feet and weighing around 35 tonne. With around 1,200 carpet knotters contributing, it took approximately 2 years to create, using wool from New Zealand and Iran.

5. The Mosque contains seven chandeliers, each are made up of millions of Swarovski crystals. The largest of these is the second largest in the world, measuring 33ft in diameter and 49ft high.

6. There are 96 marble pillars in the main prayer hall, each delicately inlaid with mother of pearl. It also contains a Qubla wall, facing Mecca, which has 99 names for Allah inscribed on it.

Cost of Sheikh Zayed Mosque tickets:

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque often known as the white beauty of the Gulf is free for all visitors.
Yes, that’s right. You don’t need to buy any tickets to enter.
However, seeing the Mosque by yourself is not advisable. Then it just ends up being a beautifully constructed building.
Each of the walls of the Mosque has a story, each design an anecdote.
To make your trip memorable, we suggest you take a guided tour of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

Dress code for Sheikh Zayed Mosque:

Apart from being a tourist attraction, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is an active religious place where people come to worship. This is why, regardless of faith, all visitors must follow the Mosque’s conservative dress code. While visiting the Mosque, one must not wear pants, shorts or skirts which end above the ankle.

For both men and women, an opaque, loose-fitting outfit is advised.

Female visitors must cover their head and hair with a headscarf.

Mosque dress code

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