Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi. If you’ve read my ‘Exploring the Emirates: A Day Trip to Abu Dhabi‘ post, you’ll know we stopped here during our little road trip. There is so much more to say about this beautiful place of worship, that I thought I would write an in-depth post, including some interesting facts, and tips and tricks when visiting.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the country, and one of the largest in the world. During Eid, more than 41,000 people visit the mosque. Like many mosques in the middle east, the mosque is clean and architecturally beautiful.
One of the chandeliers is the third largest in the world, and the mosque also holds the largest carpet in the world. You can see the level of detail that has gone into every aspect of the design. It’s grandeur and architecture is mesmerising.
How do you get to the Mosque?
If you’re staying in Abu Dhabi, the easiest way to get to the mosque is by taxi. Taxis are much cheaper over in the middle east compared to Europe and it’s super easy to hail a taxi wherever you are in the city.
I would say it is definitely worth the travel from Dubai to see the mosque. I recommend driving from Dubai, or from Ras Al Khaimah in our case, if you have access to a car. Once you’re out of Dubai the roads are quieter and the route is pretty straightforward. Taxis from Dubai are around 250aed one way. There are also buses that run from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, where you can then jump on a second bus to the mosque or otherwise a quick taxi ride.
I have also seen lots of tours on the internet, which includes a visit to the mosque. This could be a great way to get a full tour of Abu Dhabi and it’s sights and with your transport provided.
When you arrive at the mosque, you’ll need to take the lift down to the visitor centre, where you’ll walk through a hidden, underground mall which lead you to the visitor centre entrance.
Opening Times and Entrance Fees
Just the information you want to here…entrance to the mosque is FREE. Simply, all you need to do is fill in a short electronic questionnaire on the tablets provided on entrance and then you’re free to enter.
The mosque is open from 9am-10pm everyday except Friday where the public opening hours are 4.30pm-10pm. Hours also differ during Ramadam. Weekends like most tourist hot spots are very busy, with the numbers of visitors often doubling or even tripling.
I recommend going a few hours before sunset to see it in full light, watch the sun set over the mosque and then it lit up so beautifully on an evening.
What to Wear?
When visiting any mosque, the clothing you wear must be appropriate and conservative. The dress code is strict. For women, your body and hair must be fully covered. On arrival you are directed to a closet room, where Abayas are free to use. There is a selection of different coloured Abayas: burgundy, blue and nude. I was given one which was a lovely nude-pink colour, and the length was perfect, given that I’m 6ft and wasn’t sure if it would be long enough.
Covering your hair, as a woman, is a must at all times. It is disrespectful to no to so, and there are guards around the mosque who will tell you if you are not abiding by the rules.
Other Top Tips
- Wear Sunglasses – the architecture reflects the sunlight, and if you don’t have sunglasses you’ll spend the whole time squinting (I had to borrow Zya’s for photos, hence why I look like John Lennon!)
- Bag Scanning – your bags are scanned upon entrance to the mosque, and no personal food or drink is allowed.
- Photo Taking Points – to ease congestion around the mosque – non restrictive as there is lots of stops for you to get those picturesque photos. It’s also important to follow visitor paths, as certain areas are not accessible to non-worshippers.
- No Tri-Pods
- Free Daily Tours – at set points of the day, for you to learn all about the features and history of the mosque.
I definitely recommend visiting this beautiful mosque, and seeing it for yourself in all its glory. I’d love to re-visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque if I ever return ever to the UAE, and go for sunset, and then see it at dusk when the mosque it lit up with all it’s unique lighting features. If you want more information on the Sheikh Zayed Mosque you can be directed to their website by clicking here.
Have you visited any mosques in the world? Which ones have you visited?
Have you read my previous post? – Blogging Tips and Tricks for Beginners
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