Destination Landmarks: Sheikh Zayed Mosque, UAE
Named after the first UAE President, Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the 6th largest mosque on the planet, and is ranked first among over 70 attractions found in Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Zayed Mosque has also been ranked the second favorite landmark in the world in a list that was compiled by TripAdvisor. The mosque beat many iconic wonders like the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal, being outranked only by Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan site found in Peru.
This beautiful grand Mosque is located at in the heart of Abu Dhabi, between Maqta bridge and Musaffah bridge. Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a true masterpiece of the modern Islamic architecture and is mostly made up of natural materials like marble, gold, stone, crystals and other semi precious stones. This architectural work of art has a capacity for over 41,000 worshippers, and it features 82 domes, more than 1,000 columns, the biggest hand knotted carpet in the world (found in the prayer hall) and about 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers. The Mosque has reflective pools surrounding it, and there are 96 marble pillars found in the main prayer hall. In the mosque’s main prayer hall, you will find 1 of the largest chandeliers in the world.
As the largest Mosque in UAE (measuring at 960 feet by 1,380 feet, and covering about 30 acres), Sheikh Zayed Mosque is one of the most popular and most visited landmarks in the whole of United Arab Emirates. There are tourist guided tours of the Mosque’s interior available a couple of times a day. Unlike many other mosques which tend to limit the visitors to Muslims only, Sheikh Zayed (the founder and first president of UAE), wanted this Grand Mosque to be available for both Muslims and non Muslims; he wanted it to be a place of discovery and learning about Muslim art, philosophy and history.
The mosque is normally open for prayers all throughout the day. For non muslims, visiting time is set from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM every day of the week, except on Friday mornings. The visiting times usually change during Ramadan.
Best Time of Year To Visit
The best time of year to visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque is between the months of April and May, and also between September and October; there’s usually pleasant weather, reasonable accommodation rates and manageable crowds.
The holy month of Ramadan is observed with due solemnity in the United Arab Emirates. Ramadan is most likely to start from July to September for the next few years. If you are planning to visit Sheikh Zayed Mosque during the month of Ramadan, please do respect Islamic traditions.