About this place

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, stands as a monumental achievement in modern Islamic architecture and design. This mosque, one of the world’s largest, was commissioned by the late president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who sought to create a structure that would unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art.

Construction and Design

Construction of the mosque began in 1996 and was completed in 2007, involving over 3,000 workers and 38 contracting companies from around the world. The mosque’s design blends various Islamic architectural schools, incorporating elements from Moroccan, Mughal, and Andalusian designs, among others, to create a harmonious and inclusive cultural piece.

The mosque features 82 domes of Moroccan design, over 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers, and the world's largest hand-knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers – 10 meters in diameter, 15 meters in height, and weighing twelve tonnes. The mosque's exterior walls and columns are clad in more than 100,000 tons of pure white Greek and Macedonian marble, which was chosen for its purity and durability.

Cultural and Religious Significance

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque can accommodate over 40,000 worshippers, serving not only as a place of daily prayer but also as a center of learning and discovery through its education and visitor programs. The mosque is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is buried on the site. His final resting place is located in the courtyard adjacent to the mosque, reflecting his pivotal role in the mosque’s creation and his vision of uniting the world through cultural and religious tolerance.

True to Sheikh Zayed's vision, the mosque is open to visitors of all faiths, promoting a message of inclusivity and understanding. It offers guided tours that provide insights into the Islamic faith and the cultural heritage of the UAE. The mosque’s library holds collections of books and publications on Islamic subjects, including sciences, civilization, calligraphy, the arts, and coins, including rare and historical manuscripts.

Architectural Highlights

- The Reflective Pools** surrounding the mosque enhance its beauty and the spectacular image it presents, especially at night.
- The Carpet and Chandeliers** within the main prayer hall are notable for their craftsmanship and size, contributing to the mosque’s grandeur.
- The Columns** are inlaid with precious stones such as amethyst, lapis lazuli, red agate, abalone shell, and mother of pearl, showcasing traditional Islamic artistry.
- The Lighting System** is designed to reflect the phases of the moon, with soft undulating clouds of blue projecting onto the external surfaces and 22 light towers gradually changing color from white to dark blue according to the moon phase.

Visiting the Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must-visit landmark for those traveling to the UAE, offering a profound glimpse into the architectural beauty and spiritual significance of Islam. Visitors are advised to dress modestly in respect of Islamic traditions when visiting the mosque. The mosque provides complimentary traditional attire for those who may need it.