If you’re living in the UAE and haven’t yet visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you are greatly missing out on a rich cultural experience. The Grand Mosque is a symbol of the diverse Islamic community not only of this country but of the whole world. The architectural design is impeccable. The grandeur and solemnity elates you yet also calms your senses. Seeing it in pictures and being there in person are two different worlds.
Located in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, the Grand Mosque is one of the largest in the world and can hold about 40,000 worshipers at one time. The ceiling is adorned with gold-plated chandeliers made of Swarovski crystals while the floor with hand-knotted carpet. It is a magnificent sight to behold.
Named after the country’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Grand Mosque is open to visitors daily from 9 AM to 10 PM except on Fridays where visitors are only allowed from 4:30 PM to 10 PM. Friday mornings are dedicated for worshipers only.
There’s a free one hour guided tour that runs several times daily but you can also go around by yourselves though it wouldn’t hurt if you take advantage of the free tour – you’ll learn more about the history of the mosque and meet new friends perhaps.