Abu Dhabi is full of many great things to do and see. One thing that you must absolutely do when visiting is go to the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This Mosque is one of the few that allow non-Muslims inside. It is exactly as it’s name suggests, Grand!
Driving towards the Mosque you can’t help but notice it. It is huge and it’s beauty exudes itself. We took a taxi there. It is also very easy to get a taxi when you are ready to go. The Mosque is free to enter and walk around. The Grand Mosque as it is affectionately called, is open daily from 9am – 10pm. Friday’s mornings, tourist aren’t allowed in till 4:30pm. It is also closed on the first day of Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha.
Upon entering past the ropes I noticed a couple attempting to take a picture. The guard immediately stopped them. He told the man he had to take his arm from around his wife. I soon found out there is no hugging, kissing, or even a simple arm around the shoulder allowed there.
We then headed down an escalator and across a parking lot to get an abaya. Men can also get a kandourah, but it isn’t necessary. We had to have some form of ID in order to obtain these. They do not take passports, it can be a driver license or school ID. Your ID is slid into a book and they hand you a number. To obtain the abaya a woman looked me up and down and told me which rack to go to. I put on the abaya, which was very big. The hood to cover my hair, flopped over my head.
We headed back across the parking lot and up the escalator so we can begin walking around the beautiful architecture. There was so much beautiful to take in. There are walking guided tours that last 45-60 minutes, but we just walked around on our own.
We walked around taking in all the beauty. As we walked towards the main prayer hall people were sitting on benches. They were taking a break from walking, putting on, and taking off their shoes. In order to enter the main prayer hall shoes must be taken off and put on a shelf. The marble felt so cool under my feet, but we put on socks to walk around.
Walking inside the main prayer hall it is massive and can hold 7,000 of the 40,000 worshipers the Mosque can hold. The carpet is beautiful and is said to be the world’s largest carpet. There are also a handful of gorgeous colorful chandeliers. The chandeliers have millions of Swarovski Crystals. One of them is the second largest in a mosque and third largest in the world.
There are marble columns all around that have mother of pearl inlaid in them. The 99 qualities of God (Allah) are on one wall written in Kufic. After walking around we decided to head back out to walk around some more. Putting our shoes on we continued to walk around. We saw some beautiful pools of water. Gorgeous next to the columns. There was also an area to wash your feet.
After walking around a bit longer we gave the abaya back and headed out. It was hard to walk away from The Grand Mosque. The intricate detail is amazing. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque truly is gorgeous and a must see when in Abu Dhabi!
Have you been to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque?