Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the third largest, and arguably one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. Not only is Sheikh Zayed Abu Dhabi’s greatest worship place, but it is also considered the UAE’s grand mosque. It is estimated that as many as 40,000 people kneel on its luxurious carpets toward Mecca during Eid, Muslim holidays & festivals (Wikipedia). Naturally, it is one of the Persian Gulf’s most valued architectural treasures.
What is interesting about this holy site is that at first glance, it is hard to realize how new it is. Its intricate details and architecture trick most tourists into believing that the Sheikh Zayed Mosque was constructed in ancient times. However, this could not be farther from the truth.
The first ideas to build the Sheikh Zayed Mosque surfaced in the late 80’s and design and location were thought of fondly for another decade before construction even began. Then, toward the end of Ramadan 2007 (September/October), the 82 domes of holiness opened to the public.
It could be argued that the majestic worship place was simply conceived and constructed with tourism in mind. Whether it is a valid argument or not, one thing is certain: It can be argued. How so? Inside, there are seven German chandeliers, containing millions of Swarovski crystals, in addition to the world’s largest carpet, measuring an astounding 5,627 m2 (60,570 sq ft) and 2,268,000,000 knots. I think that give us the answer!
In the main praying room (above), you will find the infamous carpet, which took about two years to complete. It was made by Iran’s Carpet Company and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi (Wiki).
In addition to its 82 white domes of holiness, chandeliers & world’s largest carpet, other imposing features of Sheikh Zayed Mosque include an impressive lightning system and the world’s largest marble mosaic.
Indeed, Sheikh Sayed mosque is a must-see when traveling to the Middle East.
What’s your favorite Middle Eastern mosque? Why?