The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi – officially The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the most architecturally magnificent buildings in the world. The mosque is visited by tens of millions of people every year.
Formerly, the mosque provided abayas for visitors to rent, free-of-charge, but now it is no longer possible to rent abayas at Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
The mosque asks visitors to come prepared and dress modestly, to respect the mosque’s manners, or to purchase an abaya from the shop for Dh45.
Dress code at Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Mosques hold a religious and sacred position for all Muslims. Hence, visitors are asked to abide by specific ethics and rules and show their full respect by following the above instructions.
Women should be covered with loose, non-transparent clothing and a headscarf or hijab. Tight or transparent clothes, shorts, sleeveless shirts are not allowed. While men should wear full-length or three-quarter-length trousers, and no t-shirts or vest tops.
About Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
- The Sheikh Zayed Mosque was built between 1996 and 2007 at the behest of the late UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In 2004, Sheikh Zayed died and now rests in a mausoleum in the courtyard of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
- Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is considered the Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, a visionary leader who believed that nothing was impossible and that he was President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi for over 30 years, until his death.
- The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was designed by the Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky and was built by Italian and Belgian contractors, with the work of over 3000 men. Hundreds of expert craftsmen and precious materials used for the construction come from over 10 different Asian and European countries.
- The mosque has 82 domes, with the highest minaret standing 107 metres (351 feet) tall. The mosque is surrounded by reflective pools.
- The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is able to accommodate over 10,000 worshipers in the internal areas and over 31,000 in the external areas and is normally frequented for daily and Friday prayers.
- For the construction of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, very precious marbles originating mainly from Italy and North Macedonia were used. Pure white marbles combine with handmade decorations and mosaics in natural marbles of different colors. The result is a masterpiece of art and beauty.
- The main prayer hall houses the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, of approximately 5700 sqm. To make it took 2 years and the work of 1200 craftsmen.
- The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has seven 24-carat-gold gilded crystal chandeliers from Germany. The largest weighs 12 tons!
General Tips for Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open to the public seven days a week from 9:00 AM until 10:00 PM. On Friday Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open from 09:00am to 12:00pm (Last admission at 11:30 am) and reopens from 3:00 pm. to 10:00 pm (Last admission at 09:30 pm).
Admission to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is free for everyone. It is only required to register for a free ticket and to pass airport-style security checks. You can book your visit here.
There are free guided tours (called Cultural Tours) that last 30 or 45 minutes. The official guides of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque accompany visitors and passionately explain many details about architecture and customs. Tours take place in English or Arabic and there is usually one tour every hour.
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