Visiting the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi
One of the attractions to complete your Abu Dhabi tour is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the most known religious site in the Middle East. The mosque has become very famous that every year attracts millions of tourists and it’s been included in the list of the most famous monuments worldwide. The “white colossus” is the largest mosque in the UAE and the third-largest in the world as the complex covers over 22.000 sqm.
The name of the mosque comes from the president of UAE who launched the project, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (that is also buried there), who wanted to establish a structure that would unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art. The mosque was built from 1996 to 2007 using artisans and material from many countries, including Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Morocco, India, Pakistan, Iran and China.
Peace and tolerance are perfectly mixed here, also because Sheikh Zayed had always believed that diversity must be vaporized, and he tried to explain this belief with his project. The mosque reflects the spirit of diversity in culture and civilization, demonstrating that tradition and modernity can coexist without cancelling each other. This mosque, which hosts more than 40.000 worshipers, is built on an artificial hill, and it shows all its majesty from the outside. In addition to the 4 minarets on the 4 corners of the courtyard that seem to touch the sky with a height of 107 meters, and its 82 domes in seven different dimensions, the mosque has got gardens with water pools, that in the sunny days give to the visitors a wonderful light game and a fantastic colonnade adorned with gold.
After crossing the big courtyard, once inside the building, you can walk on the world’s biggest carpet (handmade in Iran by more than 1000 women), admire the big and colourful chandeliers, decorated windows, precious stones set inside marble Italy, gold and others amazing decorations. The Mosque represents a fertile spiritual space enriched throughout the years by the inheritance of Islam. It wants to be a welcoming space open to all visitors who wish to acquaint themselves with Islamic architecture and religion.
Need to know
Opening Time: the mosque is also open to non-muslim visitors from Saturday – Thursday between 9 – 22 and on Friday from 16.30 – 22. It’s possible to join a free tour in English or Arabic. Remember to dress appropriately as it’s a place of worship. In case you need them, abayas are provided for women and long trousers for men.
How to get there: the Grand Mosque is located on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street/5th St, not far from Abu Dhabi downtown. The easiest way to get there is by taxi or Uber (on-demand taxi). If you want to catch the local buses, download the smart app Moovit to find the best route or check on the official website of the ITC.
Where to sleep in Abu Dhabi: the city offers a wide range of accommodation, ranging from affordable hotel to luxury resort. There isn’t the best place to sleep, but we suggest staying near the beautiful Corniche, the promenade of Abu Dhabi. We slept at Corniche Hotel, located in the heart of the Central Business district, right in front of the sea.