Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Mother of pearl, colorful crystals, exquisite white marbles, crafted gold and precious stones, the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi is grand in every possible way. While we were visiting Dubai with the family on a holiday, we planned a day trip to Abu Dhabi, especiallyto visit this magnificent mosque.
Abu Dhabi, the sister city of Dubai and the capital of UAE has been attracting tourists from all around the world with its beautiful beaches, shiny skyscrapers, and artistic buildings. What we loved about Abu Dhabi is the fact that although the city has paved way for a lot of modern developments, it still has a strong connection to its historic and cultural roots.
As we started from Dubai early morning, we decided to begin our tour with the mosque as our driver said it gets pretty crowded later in the day. We have to confess we were quite in awe of this iconic landmark when we caught the first glimpse of the place as we stepped out from the car. The pure white domes of the mosque looked picture perfect against the clear blue sky.
The outer façade has a pristine blue pool and a courtyard with about 1084 artfully designed white pillars. The mosque being a sacred place has instructions signs placed all over explaining the do’s and don’t’s within the mosque premises. There is a strict dressing code of both men and women, hence we ladies had to wear the abayas, so as to cover the head, arms and legs. The mosque provides the abayas for free at the mosque dressing room, which is located just after the courtyard. Also do remember that you will have to remove your footwear before entering the main prayer hall.
Once we got inside, we were dumbstruck with the magnificent crystal chandelier that was hung in the foyer. But as we entered the main hall we were greeted with even more beautiful and grander chandeliers. The hall is a masterpiece of its own with pillars carved with mother of pearl, intricate wall and dome carvings, and special hand-knotted carpet (one of the largest in the world). One can easily spend hours going through every minute artistic detail in this stunning place.