Experience Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque : A Visual Guide

A combination of tranquillity and beauty, The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque offers one of the most beautiful sights to see in the entire UAE and I would strongly recommend you to visit! 

Living in Dubai coming up for two years we have visited a handful of times and still, the experience does not get tiring. This time we set off early on Saturday morning and although the temperature is still hot, around 32 degrees, we have acclimatised and was able to enjoy the trip.

We usually head over to Abu Dhabi most weekends, as we prefer the laid-back atmosphere of the capital. The car journey from our base in the Greens Dubai takes little over an hour and as a self-confessed driving fanatic, any chance I get to be in the car just enjoying the views and listening to music, I'm in! The car journey although essentially a long straight road is one I enjoy, we tend to take the scenic route, opposed to the main motorways with its impressive speed limit of over 120KM. 

Once you begin seeing tree lined roads, you know you left Dubai. Rising impressively and visible from each of the two bridges joining Abu Dhabi Island to the mainland, the Grand mosque stand huge and impressive, glistening against the never-ending blue skies of the UAE.  

There is no entrance fee for the mosque, essentially a place of worship it's equally respected by Muslims and non-Muslims and before you ask, yes there is a Dress code - Men are not permitted to wear shorts or wear short sleeves and women are required to wear an Abaya (traditional robe) and a Shayla (head scarf). I found that wearing the dress adds to the experience and for those who do not own either of the above, no need to fret as both can be hired free of charge, at the main entrance. 

This time around we spent a good 2 hours just wandering around examining the sheer beauty of the mosque. Marble dominates the architecture, a stunning pure white stone which has been inlaid by master craftsmen in floral patterns of gold and mother of pearl. 

Surrounding the internal mosque structure are several shallow tiled pools, which contrast against the white backdrop so beautifully. 

During tourist opening times, you are allowed to cross over the internal marble square, which is used by worshipers at prayer times on Fridays 9am-4:30 pm to the grand prayer hall. 

Before entering the mosque, you need to remove your shoes, outside the entrance you will find a shoe storage unit and large long bench, useful  for those of us that decide to wear very pretty but hard to remove strappy sandals, which my lovely husband helped me remove much to the amusement of everyone in the place!
Behind the intricate blue glass entrance doors, you will find the grand hall which is unsurprising as stunning and the outside. With its finely decorated inlaid vine motifs that climb up to the sprawling roof the main prayer hall also houses the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet and seven magnificent 24-carat gold galvanised chandeliers; 

These are works of art in their own right and dominate the impressive space and dazzles and twinkle under the Swarovski and glass chandeliers radiance;

Walking around the room with our toes deeply buried into the lush handcrafted carpet, we felt comfortable! The architecture is amazing and you truly appreciate the sheer amount of work which must have gone into the design and build of this impressive structure! 

Be prepared for other tourists, as although we arrived quite early the mosque did start to increasingly fill up, I would recommend arriving as earlier as possible and once you have scoped the area, try and get your main photographs in early.

One tip I want to pass on to my fellow ladies who are looking to visit the Grand mosque if you do not want to wear the free Abaya & Shayla option, wear your own variation.

I myself wore a long black maxi dress and covered my arms with a thin cotton kimono. I took my own pink scarf which I used to loosely used to cover my hair. Not only did this mean avoiding having to queue separately for the free options, I also got to retain my own style, in my own clothes whilst still respecting the dress code and traditions.

We personally love Abu Dhabi, which feels like a million miles away from the bustle of Dubai. If you're in town I would highly recommend a trip to the grand mosque to experience the rich culture and sheer beauty of the building.  

I hope this article inspires you to come and visit and admire the magnificence for yourself; as it's truly a worthwhile adventure!

I would love to hear from you if you have yourself visited the grand mosque or are planning a trip shortly?


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