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Touring Sheikh Zyed Grand Mosque in my abaya

Touring Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must when you are visiting Abu Dhabi. We've been here four years ago and it was not yet complete, the garden outside still waiting to be landscaped. We wanted to enter the mosque to see the grandeur of the famed place of prayer but we were denied. We content ourselves photographing it from the outside. Still it looks majestic.

Four years later and we are back with two of our friends. I make sure to check the mosque management website before our trip in order not to be denied for the second time. Looking at the dress code below, I understood that we were not properly dressed before. There were dressing booths at the entrance now where ladies can borrow abaya and shayla which were not there before. Me and my friend each took an abaya and shayla and started covering ourselves. The abaya was easy to put on but the headscarf is very tricky though. We struggle to keep it in place all the time. Our partners are fine with their clothes. Here's a souvenir photo with our very handsome and knowledgeable tour guide.

Moving on to the more exciting part of the tour but first let me tell you that this is a complimentary guided tour, yes its FREE. It was Friday and we joined the 5pm schedule. A local guy ask the visitors to come closer before he starts introducing to us our tour guides. When he finished talking he ask us to devide into groups and assigned one tour guide to each group.

Our local guide was well versed, speaking in pure English as he speak except for the Arabic terms he is explaning to us. There was a myth I'd like to confirm with him so I ask if all the gold we see around are real gold. "Only those that you cannot reach are real gold", he answered with a chuckle. He was pertaining to the ones in the minarets of course and the domes.

The size of the SZGM is the size of five football fields, it can accomodate up to 40,000+ worshippers inside and out. It features 82 domes, the main dome the largest of its kind measuring 32.8 meters in diameter where the worlds largest chandelier made of swarovski crystals weighing nine tonnes hang.

Reflective pools surround the mosque and it's best to capture the mosque reflection at night. The unique lighting system is responsible for that beautiful bluish gray cloud projected in the external walls which reflect the phases of the moon and changes everyday.

Italian white marble and inlaid floral designs adorn the prayer halls while the interior walls have decorative gold-glass mosaic features

The main glass door weighs 2.2 tonnes and measure 12.2 meters high and 7 meters wide

Inside the main prayer hall is the worlds largest hand-knotted carpet handcrafted by 1300 Iranian artisans. There are 2, 286,000 knots and it took them two years to finish it before finally spreading it on the mosques floors. It did not get here in UAE in one big piece, another 500 people came to Dubai from Iran with it to finish it in the mosque itself. If you can see, the carpet has an almost invisible line pattern where the worshippers lined up during prayer.  

 The Qibla wall (facing the direction of the Holy City of Mecca) is 23 meters high and 50 meters wide in which the 99 names (qualities) of Allah is written in traditional Kufi caligraphy designed by UAEs prominent caligrapher - Mohammed Mandi. This is the counterpart of the altar and priest ( Imam in Islam) pulpit in our churches.


Gold-glass mosaic has been used in the Mehrab-it's the one in the above photo in the middle of the Qibla wall with golden ripples. The floral design clock on the wall indicates the time of prayer, it is five times during the day.

 As you can see all the details and the design are made to perfection. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the result of the vision of the founding father of UAE, the late president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan whose remains finds it final resting place in the mosque courtyard.

 That's me and my friend in our Emirati traditional clothes.

 For full information about SZGM please visit their website here


  1. You really did justice to sheik Zayed mosque with your shots mabrouk!

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