Date: 5th April, 2010
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.
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.
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).
We walked around the quadrant before stopping to take photos my ‘elders’ could look back at and smile about.
We then walked across the courtyard to get to the other side because my mother went: “Well, that must be it”.
And then I went: “Wow.”
This was the entrance to the main prayer hall.
(that was my silent “HO-ly%&#*… W-O-W!”)
(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.
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
The prayer hall has three massive chandeliers, the center one being the largest. On either side are two “smaller” chandeliers.
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.
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.
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