Anyone who has been to or seen the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is left mesmerised by its sublime beauty. This mosque is a work of art that pleases your senses and reminds you of the wonders man is capable of creating. But there is a lot more to the mosque than what meets the eye. Here are some unique facts about the Sheikh Zayed Mosque that everyone should know about.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE
IT’S THE LARGEST MOSQUE IN THE UAE
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the UAE and believed to be the third-largest mosque in the world. Spread across 12 hectares of land, the mosque is big enough to accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers at a time.
The mosque is located on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, at the gateway to the Abu Dhabi City Island. The gorgeous landmark is easily visible from Sheikh Zayed, Maqta and Mussafah Bridges connecting the island to mainland Abu Dhabi.
THE DOMES, MINARETS AND PILLARS
Let’s talk numbers, because these facts about Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi will be incomplete without them. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has 82 domes of varying sizes, with the biggest one being 85 metres high and 32.8 metres in diameter. The interiors of these domes are adorned with intricate Moroccan art.
The mosque has 4 minarets designed in a combination of Ottoman, Mameluke and Moroccan styles. Each minaret is 106 metres high. Sheikh Zayed Mosque’s opulence is often visible in its pillars. There are 1,192 pillars in the mosque, out of which 96 are part of the interior hall. The interior pillars are encrusted with mother of the pearl – a semi-precious jewel.
WHITE IS THE COLOUR OF PURITY
Part of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s everlasting beauty can be attributed to the white marble. H.H. the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan chose white marble for the construction of the mosque as a representation of peace and purity. Built with 100,000 tonnes of white marble imported from Macedonia, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi stands today as the epitome of purity. The white marble is an inherent characteristic that gives the mosque personality and sublime grandeur.
PERFECTION DEMANDS TIME AND PRECISION
It took 11 long years to complete the marvel that is Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque today. The construction of the mosque began in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the Sheikh Zayed Mosque was opened for worship. Sadly, it was three years after H.H. the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan passed away. His grave rests in the mosque’s courtyard.
During these 11 years, it took 38 different contracting companies and more than 3,000 workers and artisans to make the vision come true. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque with its reflective pools, marble mosaic courtyard, opulent design and everlasting grandeur is one of the most spectacular landmarks in the UAE.
ILLUMINATED IN THE LIGHT OF THE MOON
Ever wondered why a lot of people recommend you to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the night? It’s because this is the time when you can behold the mosque in all its grandeur, complete with the spectacular lunar illumination – something you just can’t ignore when talking about Sheikh Zayed Mosque facts.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque lighting system is just as unique as the mosque itself. It is designed to illuminate the mosque’s magnificent structure emulating the different phases of the moon. And just like the moon takes a different shape, emanating a different light each night – the lighting cycle of Sheikh Zayed Mosque basks its façade with darker hues of the early moon and brighter shades when the moon is full.
THE MARVELLOUS FUSION OF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES
One of the most unique facts about Sheikh Grand Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is that its design combines the best of Islamic architecture. Syrian architect, Yousef Abdelky took inspiration from the Mughal and Persian architectures with hints of Moorish styles when creating the design for Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Apart from that, one can witness traces of Arabic architecture of Moroccan, Mameluke and Andalusian origins throughout the different elements of the mosque.
A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR THE CARPET
The Persian carpet in the main prayer hall of Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the largest hand-knotted carpet in the world. It covers an area of 5,700 square metres and took two years to be completed, trimmed and transported to the mosque. Around 1,200 artisans worked on the carpet, creating 9 different parts that were later assembled and weaved together into one piece. This gorgeous Persian carpet is made of 70% wool and 30% cotton. Most people want to offer prayer in this gorgeous hall of the mosque. If you too want to perform salah here, keep a track of prayer times in Dubai.
EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS GRAND, CHANDELIERS INCLUDED
Just as grand as its name, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has seven luxe crystal chandeliers located in the main prayer hall and other foyer entrances. Made by Faustig Germany, these chandeliers have Swarovski crystal-studded glass panels that are only part of their overall allure.
All these chandeliers are made from brass, stainless steel and around 40kgs of galvanised gold! The largest of these, which is also the second-largest in the world, adorn the main prayer hall. It is 49 ft. high with a diameter of 33 ft. and weighs a whopping 12 tonnes. The six others weigh between 8 and 2 tonnes.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
IS SHEIKH ZAYED MOSQUE FREE?
Sheikh Zayed Mosque is free to enter and explore. You do not need tickets to visit the mosque. The mosque is open for all – worshippers and tourists. It is also a great option for non-Muslims in search of mosque tours in the UAE.
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque timings: 09:00 am to 10:00 pm | Fridays 04:30 pm to 10:00 pm
HOW MUCH DID THE GRAND MOSQUE IN ABU DHABI COST TO BUILD?
This is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions on the facts about Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Impressive as it is, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was constructed with a total cost of $545 million.
That’s all we have for you now. A visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the top things to do in Abu Dhabi. That is one reason why tourists always make it a point to visit this landmark. There are other mosques in Abu Dhabi that may not be as grand as this one, but they sure have architectural excellence and cultural prominence that makes them worth visiting.
Abu Dhabi has a rich culture that finds its roots in history. For cultural buffs, visiting the capital city, there is a lot to learn and explore in the history of Abu Dhabi that goes all the way back to 3rd millennium BC.
If you’re someone who loves exploring religious-cultural landmarks, the UAE has a lot to offer. Once you’ve visited the grand mosque in Abu Dhabi, start off with the Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai and then maybe take the time to discover the new Sharjah Mosque.