Abu Dhabi: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
United Arab Emirates
April 10, 2016
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and the eighth largest mosque in the world.
I can’t think of anything more to say than what is written in my guidebook:*
“Rising majestically from beautifully manicured gardens and visible from each of the bridges joining Abu Dhabi Island to the mainland, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque presents an impressive welcome to the city.
“Conceived by the founder and first president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and marking his final resting place, the mosque accommodates 40,000 worshippers and is one of the few regional mosques open to visitors.
“With more than 80 marble domes dance on its roofline held aloft by over 1000 pillars and punctuated by four 107m-high minarets (351 ft), Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a masterpiece of modern Islamic architecture and design.
“Over 100,000 tons of pure white Greek and Macedonian marble were used in the mosque’s construction. Delicate modern floral designs inlaid with semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli, red agate, amethyst, abalone, jasper and mother-of-pearl, decorate a variety of marbles and contrast with the more traditional geometric ceramic details.
“While including references to traditional Mamluk, Ottoman and Fatimid styles, the overwhelming impression of the breathtaking interior is contemporary and innovative, with three steel, gold, brass and crystal chandeliers filling the interior of the main prayer hall with shafts of primary colored light. The Chandeliers, the largest of which weighs approximately 12 tons, sparkle with Swarovski crystals and shine with 40kg of 24kt galvanized gold.
One of the prayer hall’s most impressive features is the world’s largest loomed carpet. The medallion design with elaborate arabesque motifs took 1200 artisans two years to complete, half of which was spent hand knotting the 57 sq meters (614 sq ft) of woolen thread on a cotton base. That translates as two billion, 268 million knots.”
*Dubai & Abu Dhabi. Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. 8th edition. Sep 2015
Here is the link to a forty-five minute National Geographic video of the fascinating drama of the construction and decoration of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It will be worth the effort to view the video in its entirety.