The Random Bibliophile

by Renee Alexis

Renee Alexis
20-something Filipina, an introvert who loves young adult fiction, brush pens, Taylor Swift, and BTS. Coffee runs in my bloodstream.


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Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE

It's been a year since my visit to this gem and I know it's a year late to post this up but whatever. 😜

So, last year when my newly married friend came to visit Dubai for just a night, we were able to arrange a trip to sight-see Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We went to Yas Island, drove through Corniche Road, saw the Marina Mall (Abu Dhabi), and visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - one of the largest mosques in the world. 

The mosque stood proud in the middle of the emirate with all of its white marble grandeur. This is one of the few mosques that is open to non-muslims and the entrance is free. There's also a free 45-minute guided tour that will introduce you to the wonderful history behind this magnificent architecture. So it's a really great way to get to know more about the country's culture.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE

The mosque is open Saturdays to Thursdays between 9am to 10pm and Fridays from 4.30pm to 10pm. Although for now, due to the pandemic, it's closed until further notice. 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque | Renee Alexis

There is a strict dress code before you are allowed to enter the mosque. We were lead to a changing room and given abayas for free to wear for the entirety of our visit. We walked a lot so I was very grateful I wore comfortable shoes that day. 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The entire time I was at the Grand Mosque, there was nothing else I could say but "very nice" and "amazing", coz the place really was so beautiful beyond words. The striking whiteness of the mosque looked so luxurious, and the minute details were meticulously put together to bring the entire picture to life!

This mosque was launched by the late president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted to establish a structure that would unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with the historical and modern values of architecture and art. His final resting place is located on the grounds adjacent to the complex. (source)

The design of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque has been inspired by Persian, Mughal, and the Alexandrian Mosque of Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque in Egypt, also the Indo-Islamic mosque architecture, particularly the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan being direct influences. The dome layout and floorplan of the mosque was inspired by the Badshahi Mosque. Its archways are quintessentially Moorish, and its minarets classically Arab. (source)

Renee Alexis - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

More than 90,000 tonnes of pure white marble from the Republic of Macedonia were used in its construction. Delicate floral designs inlaid with semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli, red agate, amethyst, abalone, jasper, and mother-of-pearl, decorate a variety of marbles and contrast with the more traditional geometric ceramic details. (source)

The inside of the mosque was equally magnificent as its outer portion. The main prayer hall houses the largest chandelier that's incorporated with a million Swarovski crystals. I swear my photos do not do justice to its grandiose!

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Main Prayer Hall

One of the prayer hall's most impressive features is the world's largest loomed carpet fashioned from Iranian cotton and New Zealand wool and flown in from Mashad, Iran, on two airplanes. The medallion design with elaborate arabesque motifs took 1200 craftspeople two years to complete, half of which was spent on hand-knotting the 5700 sq meters of woolen thread on a cotton base. That translates as 2.268 billion knots! (source)

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Details Inside

There are calligraphy writings on the ceiling from the Quran and while I can't read them, I was still starstruck by its beauty. 

I loved the mosque. I loved its architecture. And I loved the rich history of how and why it was built. If you find yourself in the UAE, never miss going to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is definitely a must-see!

I vlogged about our trip that day so if you want to see more of the mosque, you can watch the video below. 😊

Until my next post! xx



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