Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Located in Abu Dhabi and built between 1996 and 2007, Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the third largest mosque in the world. The overall design is considered a mix of Persian, Arab, Mughal and Moorish architecture. In this sense, the project aims to unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world using Art and Architecture.
We tend to confuse the concepts of “Arab” and “Muslim”. Arabs are an ethnic group, such as Caucasian or Black. One cannot become Arab! On the other hand, a Muslim is someone who follows or practices Islam. Becoming Muslim is as easy as believing in One God and accepting Muhammad as his messenger.
As a matter of fact, 92% of Arabs are Muslims, (so… most of them!), BUT there is an 8% minority of Christian and Jewish Arab communities. Besides, Arabs only represent 20% of the Muslim world. Non Arab Muslims are ethnic groups from China, South-East Asia, Indian, the Balkans and Adriatic regions… In conclusion, I hope that I have clarified the topic a little bit! In any case, let’s get back to our Mosque.
How To Get To The Sheikh Zayed Mosque
UAE cities are non walk-friendly. They are safe but distances are huge.
- By bus. Go to Abu Dhabi’s main bus station (crossing Hazaa Bin Zayed Road and 4th St.) and take route 054. Buses leave every 20 minutes and the fare is 2AED (o.5USD).
- By taxi from anywhere in the city.
Mini Architectural Guide
- Minaret is the tall and slender tower used to call the faithful to prayer. Its design combines Mamluk, Ottoman and Fatimid styles.
- There are 82 domes, in various sizes. The largest one is located in the centre of the main prayer hall. Golden painted verses from the Holy Quran decorate their inside.
- A distinguishing white colour marble covers most of the Mosque. It is a symbol of purity and piety.
- Carpet. The world’s largest hand-knotted carpet lies on the main prayer hall. It is a single piece about 5700 square meters. 1200 artisants worked for two years to complete it.
LEARN MORE! Islam is against the creation of images of sentient, that’s why its Art is dominated by calligraphy and geometric patterns.
- No entrance fee.
- Schedule. Open from Saturday to Thursday from 9:00 to 22:00. On Friday from 16:30 to 22:00. Ramadan visiting hours from 9:00 to 14:00 (closed on Fridays).
- English tours from 10:00 to 17:00. Free, very interesting.
- There is a dress code to enter the mosque. It’s quite strict for women, but you can borrow appropriate dress entering by the South Gate.
- More info at http://www.szgmc.ae/en/
- Travel Guide: Lonely Planet Dubai & Abu Dhabi