Out & About

United Arab Emirates' flag
Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Abu Dhabi
September 13th 2010
Published: September 13th 2010
Edit Blog Post

I went out by myself tonight with the kids! It is the first time I have gone out alone overseas, and it was exhilarating. I was always so worried I would get lost and wouldn’t be able to communicate to anyone where I was supposed to be. But so many people speak English here and they are so professional and helpful I felt safe. We went to Corniche East & the Marina Mall 2cnd biggest mall in Abu Dhabi. Needless to say it was fabulous. Let’s see some of the stores: Bebe, Ikea, coach, rolex,fendi, Gucci, Louis vuitton, via spiga, pure gold, Abu Dhabi Islamic bank, caribou café, popeyes, burger king America, luxury model cars, (I noticed when we were driving to the mall a Cold Stone Creamery!)
We did go to snow world, that wasn’t impressive it was just a little ice rink. Behind it encased in glass was a ramp I imagine that must be the skiing place. But either they haven’t gotten up or running or its closed. It was so beautiful driving in the streets seeing all of the Ramadan & Eid decoration. Asiyah said to me: Do they know Christmas is Haraam. I told her yes they do, they are celebrating Eid. She said well they need to take down those Christmas lights hee hee.
But I digress back to me going out by myself. I was confident I asked people for directions inside the mall. I didn’t lose my temper when people tried to cut me in the kids place (similar to fantasy land). Everyone was really nice. It’s interesting most woman her were nikab, and a lot were a total face veil. But they still are beautiful, confident, feminine. The culture here for some woman is to wear the hijab on the back part of their head leaving the front of their hair exposed. All that I have seen their face were tons of make-up. The guys mostly wear pristine white jilbab with a red & white head wrap with a black rope around. ( we called it a Kufiyah back in the day, but I don’t hear any Arab using that term) So it’s interesting seeing a sea of black and white moving about. I caught a taxi home and the driver did not speak English, and I actually communicated in Arabic. (big smile) we got home safe and sound I am getting familiar with the money exchange. I am doing alright. Tomorrow I am planning a tour to the huge mosque.
On the down side my husband learned at his orientation today that the visas were coming in so slow and the department of education needed the teachers so desperately to be here that they brought all of the teachers families here on a tourist visa, so until we get that change to resident me and the kids have to travel to Oman then reenter Emirates which will extend the date for the tourist visa. That’s a little nerve racking.
Today we went to “The Grand Mosque” It is literally breath taking. I was so emotional when I saw this mosque and its entire splendor. This is by far the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. (Besides the birth of my children). I kept thinking if this is what man can do IMAGINE what ALLAH can do, and it is so humbling. And all the Ayats of Quran that talk about the splendor of Jenna became somewhat tangible. Because when I imagine my house in Jenna this is the majestic, splendor & beauty I think of. My mind cannot perceive anything more beautiful.
The sultan is not buried in the mosque, but he is buried on the premises. I could not take a picture of his burial place. But I did get the back of it before I knew what it was and saw the no picture sign.

We also went to Khalifa Park, but that was a disappointment. They must not be finished with it yet. There is loads of construction going on here. I love that Abu Dhabi Kings do seem to provide and care for the well being of their people, unlike some other Kings, who just amass wealth and could care less about sharing with the people or improving life for the people.


The majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is probably the most imposing religious and national landmark in Abu Dhabi to date. It is also arguably one of the most important architectural treasures of contemporary UAE society - and one of the most beautiful in the world - initiated no less by the late president HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is fondly thought of as the father of the UAE.

First considerations to build the Mosque began in the late 1980s and much thought was given to its location and its design over the next decade. The initial architectural design was agreed upon and the inaugural cornerstone laid in the late 1990s.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, popularly called the Grand Mosque by local residents, is seen as a construction to ‘unite the world’, using artisans and materials from countries such as Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, Turkey, Iran, China, Greece and the UAE. More than 3,000 workers and 38 renowned contracting companies took part in the construction of the Mosque.

The Mosque’s initial architectural design was Moroccan, but it evolved to include many global features, including exterior walls that are of traditional Turkish design. Natural materials were chosen for its design and construction due to their long-lasting qualities, including marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics.

The 22,412 square metre Mosque site is equivalent to around the size of five football fields, and can accommodate 40,960 worshippers - 7,126 in the main prayer hall; 1,960 in the open prayer hall; 980 female worshippers in the open prayer hall female
Sheik Zayed MosqueSheik Zayed MosqueSheik Zayed Mosque

AKA The Grand Mosque
section; 22, 729 in the open Sahan (courtyard); 682 in the main prayer hall entrance and 784 in the mosque’s main hall entrance.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque features 82 domes of Moroccan design and all decorated with white marble. The main dome’s outer shell measures 32.8 metres in diameter and stands at a height of 70 metres from the inside and 85 metres from the outside - the largest of its kind, according to the Turkey Research Centre for Islamic History and Culture.

The Mosque has approximately 1,000 columns in its outer areas which are clad with more than 20,000 marble panels inlaid with semi-precious stones, including lapis lazuli, red agate, amethyst, abalone shell and mother of pearl. The 96 columns in the main prayer hall are round in shape and inlaid with mother of pearl. Additionally, the Mosque has four beautiful minarets standing at almost 107 metres each at the four corners of the mosque.

Reflective pools, totaling 7,874 square metres and laden with dark tiles, surround the Mosque, whilst coloured floral marble and mosaics pave the 17,000 square metre courtyard which is decorated with white marble from Greece. The pools reflect the Mosque’s spectacular image, which becomes even more resplendent at night.

An equally impressive interior design complements the Mosque’s awesome exterior. Italian white marble and inlaid floral designs adorn the prayer halls and the Mosque’s interior walls have decorative gold-glass mosaic features, particularly delicate on the western wall. The main glass door of the Mosque is 12.2 metres high, 7 metres wide and weighs approximately 2.2 tonnes.

The main prayer hall features the world’s largest chandelier under the main dome - being 10 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing over nine tonnes. The Mosque’s seven gold-coloured chandeliers, from Germany, feature thousands of Swarovski crystals from Austria and some glasswork from Italy, and cost about US$8.2 million (AED 30 million).

The main prayer hall can fit in around 7,126 worshippers and also features the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. Designed by Iranian artist, Ali Khaliqi, the carpet was hand-crafted by 1,200 artisans in small villages near Mashhadin in Iran, a region renowned for its carpet making expertise. The artisans were flown to Abu Dhabi to stitch the carpet pieces together for the final fitting. Consisting of 2,268,000 knots, the Mosque’s carpet is estimated to be valued at US$8.2 million (AED 30 million).

The Qibla wall (facing the direction of the Holy City of Mecca) is 23 metres high and 50 metres wide, and is subtly decorated so as not to distract worshippers from prayer. Gold-glass mosaic has been used in the Mehrab (the niche found in the middle of the Qibla wall).

The 99 names (qualities) of Allah featured on the Qibla wall exemplify traditional Kufi calligraphy, designed by the prominent UAE calligrapher - Mohammed Mandi. The Qibla wall also features subtle fibre-optic lighting, which is integrated as part of the organic design.

In total, three separate calligraphy styles - Naskhi, Thuloth and Kufi - are used throughout the mosque and were drafted by Mohammed Mendi (UAE), Farouk Haddad (Syria) and Mohammed Allam (Jordan).

The Mosque has 80 Iznikpanels - highly decorated ceramic tiles popular in the 16th century - which feature distinctly in Istanbul’s imperial and religious buildings. Traditionally hand-crafted, each tile was designed by Turkish calligrapher Othman Agha.

28 different types of marble have been used throughout the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and include:-

Sivec from Greece & Macedonia, used on the external cladding (a total of 115,119 square metres of cladding has been used on the Mosque, including the four minarets)

Lasa from Italy, used in the internal elevations
Makrana from India, used in the annexes and offices
Aquabiana and Biano from Italy
East White and Ming Green from China

Full name of the mosque is Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque, named after the first president and founder of the UAE, who was buried at the Mosque site after his death on 03 November 2004.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the third largest in the world according to the General Secretariat Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture in Turkey. The two mosques in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia are larger.
The mosque is located between Mussafah bridge and Maqta bridge in the emirate of Abu Dhabi (route map).
Area of the Shaikh Zayed Mosque is 22,412 square meters. The 4 minarets are 107 meters high.
An Iranian carpet placed in the main prayer hall, woven by about 1200 Iranian women, is 5000 sq m and is the largest hand-woven carpet in the world, made out of 35 tons of wool and cotton. Cost AED 30 million, delivered
Ikea Marina MallIkea Marina MallIkea Marina Mall

How did that guy get in my picture
to Abu Dhabi in early August 2007.
The seven chandeliers in the mosque cost about AED 30 million.
The main dome is the largest in the world and is 87 metres high with a diameter of 32.8 metres. There are a total of 82 domes in the mosque, of traditional Moroccan design.
The courtyard will have a total of 1048 columns.
The Qibla wall will be lit by about 250 EFO illuminators from Fiberstars EFO - a supplier of fiber optics.
Construction materials and components are sourced from Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy.
About 1500 workers involved in construction
About 40,000 worshippers can be accommodated
Main prayer hall can accommodate 5000 worshippers
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Iftar meals during Ramadan
Since 2007, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque has provided Iftar meals during Ramadan.
Meals are free, and non-Muslims are welcome.
Iftar (breaking of the daily fast) meals held in Grand Mosque carpark - capacity of up to 15,000

Additional photos below
Photos: 46, Displayed: 29


13th September 2010

you go girl..
Okay so I cried when I read this...pure happieness for you and yours..I miss you guys, but seeing as we "chat"..i am feeling like you have'nt left. The pics are lovely, as is your dialogue..keep it up!!! I look forward to the posts..hugs to everyone!!!
14th September 2010
Arriving in Abu Dhabi 070

SubhanAllah, the photos are absolutely beautiful. You seem to have captured the magnificents and beauty of the place. I can understand you're becoming emotional and thoughts of The Jannah coming to mind. sigh. So you ventured out on your own huh, big girl? LOL
14th September 2010
Arriving in Abu Dhabi 083

there they are :) I have thoroughly enjoyed your journey, don't you just love the cleanliness? Alhamdulilah for sharing :)
14th September 2010
Arriving in Abu Dhabi 048

14th September 2010
Arriving in Abu Dhabi 031

14th September 2010
Arriving in Abu Dhabi 030

truly magnificent!
14th September 2010
Bumper Cars Marina Mall

fun :)
14th September 2010
Arriving in Abu Dhabi 039

i love this arrival room i wish my house looked like this !
14th September 2010
Sheik Zayed Mosque

wow i love it top to bottom

Tot: 1.469s; Tpl: 0.06s; cc: 7; qc: 59; dbt: 0.035s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb