Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque

Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque

Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque also known as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque was the highlight of our trip in the United Arab Emirates. It is one of the most magnificent buildings we have ever seen 

A trip to the Emirati capital is incomplete without a visit to the most iconic landmark! In this post, you will find everything you need to know about Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque. 

Some facts 

  • Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and can hold up to 40 000 worshippers.
  • The construction began in 1996. It took more than 3,000 workers and 38 contracting companies to construct the mosque. It was opened for worship in 2007.

  • The Grand Mosque was named after the founding father and the first president of the United Arab Emirates — late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His final resting place is located beside the mosque.

  • The mosque was designed by Syrian architect Yousef Abdelky and its design has been inspired by Persian and Mughal architectural styles. The building is also influenced by the Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque in Alexandria, Egypt.

  • The mosque houses seven crystal chandeliers made by Faustig, a Germany- based firm specializing in crystal chandeliers. The chandelier in the main prayer hall is one of the largest chandeliers used in a mosque. 
  • The beautiful carpet in the main prayer hall is the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. It took around 8 months to design, 12 months to knot, and 2 months to transport, trim and weave the pieces together. Approximately 1,200 workers from the Iran Carpet Company turned this 5,700 square meters carpet into reality under directions of Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi.

  • Different building materials were sourced from many countries like Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria, New Zealand China, India, and Pakistan.

  • There are 82 domes of various sizes at this mosque. The largest dome is located in the center of the main prayer hall. 

How to get there

If you are staying in Abu Dhabi the easiest way to get to the Grand Mosque is by taxi. The taxi will drop you off at the entrance of the visitor center. Another way is by taking a local bus from Abu Dhabi’s  Bus Station (line 032). This bus departs every 30 minutes.

The easiest way to get there from Dubai is by taxi. This takes around 2 hours and costs 250 AED.  The cheapest option is by bus. You can take a bus from Dubai’s Downtown Bus Station to Abu Dhabi costs 25 AED. Once you are in Abu Dhabi, you will have to take a local bus (line 032) to the Grand Mosque.

Another option is joining a one-day bus tour to Abu Dhabi, including a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, with pick-up and drop-off at your hotel.

Bus drivers don’t accept cash. Nol cards are used on public buses, you can buy nol cards at vending machines in Bus Stations or buy them in convenience stores.

Entrance fee and opening hours 

Visiting the Grand Mosque is completely free!

Opening times; Saturday – Thursday 9 am – 10 pm. The Grand Mosque is closed for tourists (open for worshippers) on Friday mornings. It reopens for tourists after 4.30 pm.

Important to know is that during the month of Ramadan visiting hours are from 9 am – 2 pm and completely closed on Fridays.  

What to wear

The dress code for men is long-sleeve shirts, long trousers, no shorts. White dishdashas (a long white robe, with a red-and-white scarf) are available for men who are inappropriately dressed.

The dress code for women is long trousers or skirts, long-sleeve shirts or tops, nothing tight, headscarf (important). Black abayas are provided to visiting females. You might, or will probably, be given one to wear no matter how conservatively dressed you are so don’t worry too much about what you’re wearing, or if you forget to bring a scarf.

Hair (for women) should be kept covered but it’s not necessary to cover faces.

Shoes must be removed before entering so we recommended you wear comfortable shoes that are easily removed.

Tips

  1. Pay a visit to the washrooms. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is home to some of the most stunning washrooms we’ve ever seen.
  2. You can’t take any food or drinks inside the mosque but there are enough shops where you can buy food and drinks near the entrance gate to refuel before and after your visit.
  3. You can take a free one-hour guided tour. These tours run at 10 am, 11 am and 5 pm Sunday to Thursday, 5 pm and 7 pm on Friday, 10 am, 11 am, 2 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm on Saturday.
  4.  Photography is permitted inside and outside the mosque except for taking photos of the grave of Sheikh Zayed and the area around the tomb.
  5. Tripods aren’t allowed.
  6. Wear sunglasses! The white marble can be blinding in the sun.
  7. Be respectful and follow the rules! Don’t yell, make gestures, sit or lie on the ground or make disrespectful photos. Rihanna was asked to leave the mosque in 2013 for taking inappropriate photos. You will see plenty of security guards that walk around the grounds enforcing the rules, giving warnings, and preventing visitors from visiting restricted areas. 
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2 Comments

  1. Martine
    May 9, 2020 / 1:59 pm

    Amai wat een pracht 😮

  2. July 3, 2020 / 1:07 pm

    Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

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