(Finally) Visiting the Grand Mosque

No visit to Abu Dhabi is complete without a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Yet, somehow, Beth and I managed to live here for almost nine months without seeing it up close.

I remember very vividly the night we first arrived at the airport driving past it on our way to the hotel. It stood out strikingly against the dark night sky. It was clearly a beacon in the desert landscape. I welcoming landmark on the outskirts of town. We put off visiting for any number of reasons. First, because we needed to get settled. Then, because we couldn’t get up in time to make it for one of the organized tours. Then it just got too hot. By the time September and October rolled around, we simply got too comfortable in our routine. We knew it was there and the urgency had dissipated. We could go anytime we wanted, and “today” never felt like the right day. Beth’s parents visiting for the holidays finally gave us the reason we needed to get there.

In one word: Wow.

It’s simply marvelous. The white marble was brought all the way from Italy and countless artists and craftsmen contributed their talents. And in classic UAE style, the mosque had to set at least two world records—one for the world’s largest carpet as well as the world’s largest chandelier.

Just outside the mosque is a smaller structure which houses the tomb of the UAE’s founder, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan. Inside, a group of imams take turns reading sections of the Koran out loud, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Main Courtyard
  • Exterior Wall
  • Domes and Minaret
  • Domes
  • Detail of Mosque Exterior
  • Detail of Exterior
  • Main Dome
  • Minaret
  • Detail of External Columns
  • Decorations Inside an Exterior Dome
  • Intricate Floral Pattern
  • Outside Main Prayer Hall
  • Decorated Marble Floor
  • Inlay of Precious Stones
  • Chandelier Detail
  • Decoration on Dome
  • Looking Through Window
  • Main Prayer Hall
  • Chandelier Detail
  • World's Largest Carpet
  • World's Largest Carpet
  • Qiblah
  • The Many Names of Allah
  • Mirhab
  • Beth and Judy in Abaya and Shayla
  • Vic and Beth Outside
  • Vic and Beth Outside
  • Grand Mosque at Night
  • Domes at Night
  • Arches Lit at Night
  • Beth and Judy in Abaya and Shayla
  • Beth and Judy in Abaya and Shayla

One Response to “(Finally) Visiting the Grand Mosque”

  1. Mom/Judy says:

    How come your pictures are better than mine??? We are glad that we got to share seeing the Grand Mosque together. It truly was a memorable experience.