10 Fun Facts About Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque In Abu Dhabi

The top attraction in Abu Dhabi is the unforgettable Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. See it once and you’ll instantly understand the hype. 

A trip to Abu Dhabi isn’t complete until travelers personally experience the brilliance of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. In fact, every trip to Abu Dhabi should probably start with this splendid landmark.

Located on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, the grand mosque is the serene pylon to Abu Dhabi City Island. Its very existence comes with several record-breaking stats. Before your visit, be sure to understand all the fascinating facts that you might not have known before. First and foremost, females need to adhere to these dress codes:

Follow appropriate dress codes that are enforced inside the mosque.

Grand Mosque dress code abu Dhabi
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Mosques are sacred places for worshipping Muslims, by paying respect to local culture, it’s important to follow required protocols. For females:

  • Cover your arms and legs (down to ankles.)
  • Do not wear tight-fitted clothing.
  • Do not wear transparent clothing.
  • Hair needs to be pulled back, then hair needs to be fully covered.
  • A headscarf will need to be worn.
  • Face, hands and feet are the only areas that can be visible.

It took 11 years to construct.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

UAE’s late founding father, Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, commenced the mosque as a passion project. He worked with a team of global experts to build a mosque for worship as well as an architectural icon. On December 20, 2007, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque finally opened its majestic doors in Abu Dhabi and quickly became the top tourist attraction in the capital city.

 

It’s UAE’s biggest mosque.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque broke many records when it was constructed. To begin with, it’s UAE’s largest mosque since it can accommodate over 40,000 worshippers at the same time, also making it the third biggest mosque in the world. Covering 22,400 square meters (or 12 hectares of land,) the mosque’s main prayer hall can welcome over 7,000 visitors.

 

Materials from all over the world were used to construct the mosque.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

As a symbol of global unity, materials were brought in from various countries including: Austria, China, Egypt, India, Italy, Germany, Greece, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Turkey. Designers were keen to import the best from each country in order to manifest architectural excellence.

White exemplifies purity.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

One of many elements that contributes to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s grandiosity is its use of the color white. 100,000 tonnes of ivory marble were chosen and imported from Macedonia, to epitomize significant themes of purity and peace. From near or far, the mosque’s magnificent presence is thereby breathtaking.

The upturned palm trees chandeliers symbolize UAE’s prosperity.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

The famous chandeliers inside the prayer halls were made by German company, Faustig. The impressive and colorful upside down palm trees personify prosperity in the UAE. Each is embellished with 24-carat gold plates as well as Swarovski crystals. The multi-colors stem from 40 million units of red, green and yellow crystal balls.

The mosque contains the world’s largest hand-knitted carpet.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

It’s hard to miss the stunning Persian carpet in the main prayer hall, as it is the world’s largest hand-knitted carpet, covering 5,627 square meters of space. The meticulous design required 1,200 tireless artisans and two years to finish. The massive carpet was assembled from nine various pieces that were later woven together into one. The 70% wool and 30% cotton carpet depicts motifs and patterns true to Persian traditions.

At night, the lighting system is linked to the lunar cycle.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

After dusk, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque illuminates with unique lighting created by Speirs and Major Associates inspired by the concept: breathing with the moon. The 360-degree light work alters from white during full moon to a darker blue once the moon fades. The lighting system shifts according to the lunar cycle changes every two nights. Especially on the 14th night of the cycle, the mosque transforms into the darkest blue as a metaphor to lack of moon in the sky.

The mosque also contains the world’s biggest mosaic marble artwork.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Sprawling across 17,000 square meters of the mosque, the alluring floral design on mosaic marbles is the largest artwork of its kind in the world. The flowers are emblematic of Islamic geometric designs, with detailed themes behind various shapes and colors that weave upon ivory marble, each carry meanings of: unity and harmony within the universe. Crafted by talented artisans, the mosaic artworks throughout the mosque are evident of the richness carried through Islamic heritage.

The reflective pools are used as a cooling effect.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG

The mosque is surrounded by incredible pools that not only fashion a mirroring component but in the heat of desert, they also function as a cooling system. Although the visual effect of the mirroring minarets and domes through the reflection of water is nonetheless dreamy and tranquil, the water’s evaporation aids to sustain a more bearable outdoor temperature amid Abu Dhabi’s sizzling heat during several months in a year.

Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
PHOTO WENDY HUNG
Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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