The majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is probably the most imposing religious and national landmark in Abu Dhabi to date. It is also arguably one of the most important architectural treasures of contemporary UAE society - and one of the most beautiful in the world - initiated by the late president and father of the UAE, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The 22,412 square metre Mosque site is equivalent to around the size of five football fields, and can accommodate 40,960 worshippers – 7,126 in the main prayer hall; 1,960 in the open prayer hall; 980 female worshippers in the open prayer hall female section; 22, 729 in the open Sahan (courtyard); 682 in the main prayer hall entrance and 784 in the mosque’s main hall entrance.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque features 82 domes of Moroccan design and all decorated with white marble. The main dome’s outer shell measures 32.8 metres in diameter and stands at a height of 70 metres from the inside and 85 metres from the outside - the largest of its kind, according to the Turkey Research Centre for Islamic History and Culture.
The Mosque has approximately 1,000 columns in its outer areas which are clad with more than 20,000 marble panels inlaid with semi-precious stones, including lapis lazuli, red agate, amethyst, abalone shell and mother of pearl. The 96 columns in the main prayer hall are round in shape and inlaid with mother of pearl. Additionally, the Mosque has four beautiful minarets standing at almost 107 metres each at the four corners of the mosque.
Reflective pools, totaling 7,874 square metres and laden with dark tiles, surround the Mosque, whilst coloured floral marble and mosaics pave the 17,000 square metre courtyard which is decorated with white marble from Greece.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open to visitors of all nationalities for educational tours. Visit www.visitabudhabi.ae for details.
07 October 2010