Abu Dhabi is the largest of the United Arab Emirates and also the capital. The founder's name was Sheik Zayed. So, if you're happen to land in Abu Dhabi (translated as father of gazelle) as a layover stop or for vacation, you should have the Grand Mosque on your to do list.
The founders dream was to create a mosque that combines historical and modern values as well as architecture and art. The construction started in 1996 and was done in 2007. Unfortunately, Sheikh Zayed never accomplished to see his dream of the mosque come true. His body is buried at the site.
Some incredible facts
The Grand Mosque has space for 40,000 worshippers. The main dome has a diameter of 32.2 meters and is therfore the biggest mosque dome in the world. In the mosque, you will find a hand-knotted carpet from Iran which weighs 47 tons and is the largest in the world.
Seven chandeliers and thousands of Swarovski were imported from Germany. They are the largest chandeliers in the world.
What to wear
Like me, you might also find yourself asking what you should wear for a visit to the mosque. I checked some websites online and could only find pictures with closed shoes. This is why my boyfriend and I wore our sneakers. Also, I wore long pants and a long shirt and took a scarf with me. Michael wore long pants, sneakers and a tshirt.
There is the possibility to hire an abaya. With the outfit I chose I would have been allowed to enter, but I felt more comfortable looking the same as everyone. If you arrive by taxi, you will stop in an underground park. There is a sign where to get your abaya. Men have to wait in the front and women can enter. It's important to bring your driver license with you as I saw a strange sign that said passports are not valid. You don't have to bring a scarf as the abaya has a hoodie which covers your head. Make sure it stays on your head throughout the entire time. Men will also get a cover, but only if they are not dressed appropriately.
The mosque is open for tourists from Saturday until Thursday from 9 AM to 10 PM.
On Friday until 4:30 it only opens for worshipers, from 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM it is open again for tourists.
Sunday – Thursday: 10 AM, 11 AM and 5 PM
Friday: 5 PM, 7 PM
Saturday: 10 AM, 11 AM, 2 PM, 5 PM and 7 PM
The walking tours could vary, so check the schedule before you go.
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