When you enter Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you will understand why it is such a special place. Here, people from all walks of life come together to take in the architecture's beauty and gain a deeper understanding of religion and culture in the United Arab Emirates. The mosque is one of the world's largest and was the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - the Founding Father of the UAE. He envisaged the creation of a welcoming and cultural haven that inspires people from all backgrounds.
Even the construction was a cultural collaboration. The grand structure was designed and built by skilled teams from all over the world, including 1,300 Iranian artisans who hand-knotted the main prayer hall's carpet - the world's largest.
On your journey through the marbled halls, you'll see one-of-a-kind treasures, including gold-plated Swarovski chandeliers, the courtyard's vast marble mosaic artwork and reflective pools that mirror some of the many amethyst-and-jasper-embedded columns. When you're outside, look up to see the mosque's four stunning minarets that proudly stand at 106 metres.
You’ll be overwhelmed not just by the architecture but by how welcoming the mosque feels. The open-door policy encourages visitors from around the world, from families to groups, solo travellers to congregations, to not only witness its beauty but also gain a deeper understanding of the Emirate’s culture of open dialogue.
Remember, as well as welcoming visitors to admire the architecture; the building is still an active mosque that welcomes up to 50,000 worshippers daily. Bear this in mind when planning your visit. Respectful clothing is a requirement for visitors to enter Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and on Fridays, the main prayer hall is closed to visitors between 12 pm and 3 pm as Friday prayers take place.
Past visitors will encourage you to take one of the free guided tours. Experts will guide your eyes and ears to details some may usually miss, like the gold-leaf calligraphy which encircles the hollows of the mosque’s remarkable 82 domes.
Make a second trip to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque when the sun goes down to witness the whole facade light up with even more majesty. Combining your evening trip with a visit to the poignant Wahat Al Karama memorial and dinner in the Al Qana district is highly recommended.
Frequently asked questions about Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
When is the best time to go to Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi?
The mosque is a fantastic place to visit no matter when you arrive; however, dusk is particularly special. The fading sunlight bounces off the white facade to create a beautiful glow, and after the sunset, you can witness the majesty of the building as it becomes illuminated by lights.
Are there guided tours at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque?
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque's free guided tours, in Arabic and English, are the best way to get the most from your visit.
What is the dress code for the Grand Mosque?
Visitors to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque must follow a specific dress code as a sign of respect. Visitors must cover their shoulders and knees before entry. Women must wear abayas.