Sunday, 25 February 2018

Visiting The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque was one of my main reasons for visiting Abu Dhabi, and I even chose to stay in a hotel opposite the mosque! It's one of the World's most beautiful mosques, and was built in 2007 and holds over 41,000 worshippers at any one time.


The mosque is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who commissioned the mosque and sadly passed away before its completion. You can actually see the mausoleum of Sheikh Zayed, as it's located beside the mosque on the side that you can only access while on one of the free tours.

I visited about an hour before sunset on a Wednesday, and then again at around 11am the following morning. Both times I wore maxi dresses and a scarf, but they still insisted I wear an Abaya as you could still see my wrists and ankles. There are brown and blue ones, personally I thought the blue was the most flattering, haha. Brown is not my colour!

You also have to pass through a security check point, and you're not allowed to take any food or drinks or cigarettes inside, and you must leave your shoes once you're past security, just outside the mosque entrance (you'll see all the shoes - you can't miss them).

The mosque is free to enter and open to anyone and everyone, Muslim or not, from 9am-10pm Saturday-Thursday. Fridays are the Islamic holy day, so are closed to visitors in the morning (it's still open to worshippers), and it reopens for non-worshipping visitors at 4:30pm.



Also it's important to note that visitors aren't able to visit the mosque on Fridays during the holy month of Ramadan, and from Saturday - Thursday it's open from 9am-2pm. So make sure you check the dates of Ramadan before you go as they change every year!

The tours generally run at 10am, 11am, and 5pm, and you must join one of these free tours to see certain parts of the mosque. It's well worth doing - I learnt so much and found it so fascinating! You can also ask any questions that you want and the guides are very willing to answer. I'd recommend arriving at 4:30pm for Golden Hour, go to the 5pm tour, and then you can hear the sunset call to prayer (thanks for the tip, Aftab!).

Warning: This is a photo heavy post!



One of my favourite learnings from the tour is that there are seven crystal chandeliers inside the mosque, all made by Faustig in Germany. Each one represents one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and each one weighs a different weight, as the weight of each one represents the size of each Emirate. The largest chandelier in the mosque is the third largest in the world, and each one is made up of millions of Swarovski crystals!



The carpet inside the mosque is the largest single piece of carpet in the world, and had to be shipped in from Iran on a military aircraft carrier. It measures over 60,000ft, weighs over 35 tons, and took two years to complete!

After the tour we walked back outside to hear the call to prayer. The call to prayer always makes me feel so peaceful and relaxed. I wandered around the mosque while it continued, lost in my thoughts and blissfully happy that I was finally visiting this spectacular place of worship. I'm such a sucker for beautiful religious sites (the outrageously decorative European Catholic churches are my faveee), so the mosque made me a very happy girl.



I absolutely loved visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and highly recommend it if you're in Abu Dhabi or Dubai! If you're in Dubai and would like to visit the mosque, it's only a one hour taxi journey and costs about £50.

Have you been to the mosque?

PIN FOR LATER:

PIN FOR LATER: Tips for visiting the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi! Everyone is free to enter, but you need to be aware of dress codes and opening times before you visit.



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6 comments

  1. Oh my God - no pun or blasphemy intended - the mosque is even more stunning than I had gleamed from the one or two posts that shows up on my Instagram feed! All those details, all that symmetry, all that pure white with just the right amount of gold accent! I also love that you stayed right opposite the mosque, that's my kind of extra! x

    24 Hours in Jaipur, India - Posh, Broke, & Bored

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