Sheikh Zayed mosque entrance panorama

UAE 2010: Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Date: 5th April, 2010

As I mentioned in my first post in this series, I had plans to visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque and explore the place a bit from the inside.

My mother and grand mother were keen on joining me as well. So post lunch, we set off by (the usual) taxi.

The eighth-largest mosque in the world is a 10 minute drive from Musaffah and around the same from Abu Dhabi city.

Sheikh Zayed mosque palm trees
The largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates

In case you are wondering, there isn’t an entrance fee or anything for non-worshippers.

There was a security guard right as I climbed up the steps and so I went straight up to him to ask him if photography was allowed. He said it is but asked me not to take photos of the burial site of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan — the late ruler of Abu Dhabi — after whom the mosque is named.

Sheikh Zayed mosque entrance panorama
The burial site is to the right in this photo

Another thing was (which the taxi driver also told us) women have to wear the traditional abaya to enter the mosque. My mother and grand mother didn’t hesitate. They laughed it off as an experience worth remembering while in the Middle East. Clean abayas are provided by the mosque as soon as you enter and they are free (you have to return them of course).

Shaikh Zayed mosque women abayaSheikh Zayed mosque no waterSheikh Zayed mosque pillar art

Sheikh Zayed mosque inside panorama
The courtyard of Sheikh Zayed mosque (panorama comprised of 5 photos)

Sheikh Zayed mosque ceiling domeSheikh Zayed mosque pillars womenSheikh Zayed mosque floor art

We walked around the quadrant before stopping to take photos my ‘elders’ could look back at and smile about.

Sheikh Zayed mosque Mithun mother abaya
I call this photo: "Prejudice"

We then walked across the courtyard to get to the other side because my mother went: “Well, that must be it”.

Sheikh Zayed mosque Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed mosque minarets
Sheikh Zayed mosque has four minarets

Sheikh Zayed mosque panoramaSheikh Zayed mosque main domeWe saw a door to the left and noticed people entering it minus their shoes. So we did the same.

And then I went: “Wow.”

Sheikh Zayed mosque prayer hall entrance

Sheikh Zayed mosque entrance hall chandelier(Oh and by the way, I had no idea what to expect as I hadn’t researched on this place or anything prior to coming here)

This was the entrance to the main prayer hall.

Sheikh Zayed mosque prayer clockSheikh Zayed mosque wall artSheikh Zayed mosque prayer hall doorI walked through that door and then saw the main hall. That made me then go: ”                                         “

(that was my silent “HO-ly%&#*… W-O-W!”)

Sheikh Zayed mosque prayer hall center
This was the center section of the prayer hall

(The above photo obviously doesn’t give you the scale of this hall, so you’re better off just watching the video below for that)

I tried to take a panoramic shot of the whole hall but only managed to get the left side right.

Sheikh Zayed mosque prayer hall one half
One half of the hall

This being the UAE, they obviously wanted some record-breaking bragging rights for this project. Sheikh Zayed Mosque has:

  • the world’s largest single-piece carpet, made by an Iranian company using 1,200 weavers. Weighs 47 tons and measures 60,570 sq ft
  • the world’s largest chandelier, from Germany
Sheikh Zayed mosque largest chandelier
49 feet in height and 33 feet in diameter

The prayer hall has three massive chandeliers, the center one being the largest. On either side are two “smaller” chandeliers.

Sheikh Zayed mosque columnSheikh Zayed mosque column domeSheikh Zayed mosque dome chandelierSheikh Zayed mosque man prayingI spent a good 15 minutes inside the hall, just gawking in awe. They may have not built the biggest mosque in the world but they surely made one of the most impressive looking mosques.

And the funny thing is (being a gamer), all I kept thinking about was the video game Prince of Persia. When I saw the large chandeliers and pillars, I imagined what it must be like jumping from one to the next 🙂

We left the hall after a bit, put on our shoes and made our way out.

Sheikh Zayed mosque courtyardSheikh Zayed mosque cubesSheikh Zayed mosque steps mom

Outside Sheikh Zayed mosque
Step out from the old into the new

Shaikh Zayed mosque is ‘must see’ in my books if you happen to be in Abu Dhabi. It’s really impressive if you love Islamic architecture… or just about anything huge.

Here’s the HD video I took:

Pardon the shoddy editing. Still learning the basics.

Next posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Heading to Dubai by bus; checking out Bur Dubai

UAE 2010: Dubai Mall (Aquarium, Underwater Zoo & Gold Souk) – Part 1

UAE 2010: Burj Khalifa, At the Top (and Wafi Mall) – Part 2

UAE 2010: Mall of Emirates and Times Square Center

UAE 2010: Driving around Dubai (Souk Madinat Jumeirah, The Atlantis & The Palm Islands) – Part 1

UAE 2010: Dubai Marina, Jumeirah, The Walk and David Guetta concert – Part 2

UAE 2010: Showing my parents the sights of Dubai; inside Ibn Battuta Mall

UAE 2010: From the desert sands of Abu Dhabi to the corniche

UAE 2010: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi – Ferrari World and Yas Marina Circuit

Previous posts in this series:

UAE 2010: Heading back to the Gulf after 7 years

UAE 2010: Driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (& back)

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  • Mohamed


    Avery nice Photos
    i can say one of the best pic. ever taken to Sheikh Zayed Mosque

    I hope You took more pic`s in UAE

    I want to ask about the camera You are using (waiting ur reply )

    Thanks a lot for the Photos

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thank you Mohamed for your comment. Appreciate it.

    The camera I use is the Canon 7D. And yes, there are many more photos coming! I haven’t even started on the photos I took from Dubai 🙂

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  • Ammar


    wasting money and resources. what a shame.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    It’s okay. It’s their oil money, they have enough of it for a small nation. And it’s not like they invaded a country, stole their resources and then made money out of it.

    mayamin from malaysia Reply:

    I think if they have a lot of money it’s okay, anyways, the building sure gave impact to most of the people that came, hopefully feeling deeper to God.

  • Youssef Beydoun


    Dear Author:

    Many thanks fo rthe pictorial story of the Grand Mosque. I am very impressed. Great job my friend.

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Appreciate it, thanks! 🙂

  • very brilliant architecture! thanks for posting! the ambiance really embrace the spiritual sense..

  • Hamid Reza


    Hi there,
    Yeah great photos.
    Impressive mosque. I haven’t seen this impressive mosque before.
    But I generally don’t go along with the idea of such huge pricey mosques. Here in Iran, of course we do have thousands of mosques, but not that expensive ones.
    Thanks for your great great photos. WOW Either you are a great photographer or the 7D is fabulous!!

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    A bit of both 😉

  • Shirzad


    This is PERSIAN architecture.
    Persian architecture has no link with the Arabs

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