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Published: April 9th 2009
Sheik Zayed Mosque, otherwise known as The Great Mosque, is I believe, one of the few mosques that are open to the general public. It is a stunningly beautiful mosque, its white marble domes can be seen from far across Abu Dhabi, and as you enter the city from your arrival at the airport. Arriving at night, seeing this sensual group of white marble domes & towers illuminated under soft coloured lighting...you wonder what exotic far away place you have arrived in...
The Great Mosque has only been opened for about a year, having taken 13 years to complete. It is the 3rd largest mosque in the world, covering 22,000 sq metres, and its surrounding grounds about the equivalent to 5 football grounds. Sheik Zayed's grave is here in a seperate enclosure.
You are really struck by the size and beautiful design of the mosque as you arrive, it is awe inspiring.
Morroccan style white marble domes & minarets circle the large courtyard, all inlaid with 29 different types of marble and precious stones . Elegant, sensual, beautiful and peaceful.
Women are required to wear a provided full length abaya & head scalf, shoes left in the
provided lockers or lined up amongst the throes of other shoes....men need only remove shoes.
Inside is as stunning as the out, vast spaces, domes, columns, extravagant overisized chandeliers, 7 in all, including the largest in the world, shipped in from Germany, adorned in 24 carot gold & covered in thousands of dazzling swarovski crystals.
The main space is covered in an elaborate carpet, handwoven by 1,200 Iranian women, again the largest hand woven carpet in the world.
Women have a seperate prayer room, although I must admit in all my time in Abu Dhabi, with a mosque on nearly every corner, with its evocative call to prayer over the loud speakers, it is only the men I see going to pray 5 times a day.
It really is a beautiful mosque, I highly reccomend a visit if you are in Abu Dhabi.
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