Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the radiant jewel of Abu Dhabi is the final resting place of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who is the founding father of the United Arab Emirates and the first President of the UAE. This masterpiece is known not just for its architectural magnificence and spiritual significance but also for being a symbol of unity, tolerance, and diversity. It is one of those few mosques in the region that’s open to people from all walks of life. So, no matter from where you are, you just can’t leave without visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

A Little More About Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque In Abu Dhabi

grand mosque in abu dhabi is a architectural wonder
The famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at dusk (Abu-Dhabi, UAE)

It took 12 years (between 1994 and 2007) to build Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque as per the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He wanted the Grand Mosque to be built in such a way that it conveys the Islamic message of peace and reflects genuine Islamic values. The great architect Yousef Abdelky was the brain behind the massive architectural work in addition to contributions from skilled teams from all over the world, including 38 construction companies 1,300 Iranian artisans and 3,000 laborers. Finally the construction of the mosque was completed in 2007. A whopping 2 billion dollars was spent in the overall construction of the mosque. 

Architectural Details Of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

sheikh zayed grand mosque center is decorated with expensive chandeliers
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque interior in Abu-Dhabi in the day

The very moment you step foot inside Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you’ll know why it is such a special place. The medallion design with elaborate arabesque motifs, 82 marble domes, more than 1,000 columns, 24-carat-gold gilded chandeliers and 90,000 tons of pure white marble all over will make you feel that this place is a masterpiece of modern Islamic architecture and design. Let’s take a look at some of the key architectural elements used to enhance the beauty of this place.

Domes A total of 82 white marble domes rising from all sides of the building is one of the mosque’s most astonishing features. Its looks are further highlighted by the golden onion shaped crowns, and crescent-shaped finials.

Columns – The Grand Mosque has 96 interior columns and over 1000 external columns running along the arcades is a water pool. These columns are embedded with plenty of precious and semi-precious stones like amethyst, jasper, lapis lazuli etc.

Carpets – Beneath your feet is the main prayer hall’s true treasures, the world’s largest carpet. This massive hand-knotted carpet by 1,300 Iranian craftsmen using New Zealand wool and Iranian cotton measures 5700 square meters is one of its kind in the world.

Chandeliers – The mosque’s most breathtaking feature is the Swarovski crystal and 24-carat gold chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. There are two smaller versions hanging from the main prayer hall ceiling.

Courtyard – The vast courtyard that’s sprawling over 17400 square meters is supported by four stunning minarets. Its vast marble mosaic artwork and winding floral design looks great in the open space of the courtyard. The open space is generally used for significant Islamic occasions.

Qibla Wall – The most important religious location within the mosque is the Qibla wall facing Mecca.  What makes the wall so holy are the 99 pious names of Allah inscribed in traditional Kufic calligraphy. A fiber optic system behind the design is used to illuminate the names.

Reflective Pools – Dark blue and white tiles are strategically placed to capture the reflections of the huge columns and arcades. The reflective pools that glow under the moonlight are a sight to behold.

Things To Know Before Visiting The Mosque

everyone is expected to follow the sheikh zayed grand mosque dress code
Blue lights reflecting onthe Grand Mosque makes for a beautiful sight.
  • Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and third largest in the world. It’s so big that it can accommodate over 40,000 visitors.
  • The whole entry process may take nearly 30 minutes to get inside the mosque. But the time and efforts are totally worth it.
  • Ladies will be given an abaya for free before entering the mosque. Men should also dress conservatively and avoid shorts and tight fitting clothes. It is very important to follow the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque dress code.
  • Guided tours are available every hour from noon to 8:00 pm, this is available only from Sundays to Thursdays. Frequency of the tours are lesser on Fridays and Saturdays due to prayers.
  • A comprehensive audio tour in 11 languages is also available.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Timings

refer to the website for lates updates on sheikh zayed grand mosque timings
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the final resting place of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The opening times for visiting the Grand Mosque are Saturday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, and on Fridays from 4.30 pm to 10: pm. During the Holy Month of Ramadan, open hours are from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm from Saturday to Thursday.

The best time to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is towards the later part of the day to avoid the harsh rays of the desert sun. You will also get to see this masterpiece both during the day light and nightlights.

Suggested Reads: 33 Of The Most Beautiful Mosques In The World

Every single person visiting Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Adu Dhabi will be in complete awe of its enormous size and splendor. The open door policy gives a very welcoming feel. So if you have not yet got a chance to see this timeless beauty, do it now as this place is nothing short of a dream.


Is there an entry fee to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the UAE?

No, there is no fee to enter Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Are there guided tours at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque?

You will be surprised to know that there are free guided tours with experienced guides. For those who have difficulty with understanding the language will be given headsets to listen to the explanations in English.

How to reach Grand Mosque?

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is located at Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street and the best way to get here is by taking a bus, taxi or by renting a car. If you are traveling from Dubai, the best way to explore the Grand Mosque is by booking an Abu Dhabi tour. By doing so you get to see not just the Mosque but also the other attractions in Abu Dhabi.


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