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Top sights in Abu Dhabi
Opened in 2007, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is Abu Dhabi's largest place of worship and the modern center of the city's religious life. Here's a little history worth knowing before your visit.
Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is the man credited with uniting the emirates in 1971. He died in 2004, and was buried in the mosque's courtyard.
Sheikh Zayed was known as a tolerant leader. He saw the mosque as a unifying force and commissioned artisans and materials from across the globe to better realize his vision.
Built in Germany with Austrian crystals and Italian glasswork. The mosque also boasts the world's largest carpet. It was created by 1,300 Iranian artisans and weighs 35 tons!
7,000 worshippers can fit inside the main prayer hall, but the mosque accommodates over 40,000 every Eid. But that's a far cry from Mecca's Masjid al-Haram, which can host 4 million!
While visiting in 2013, the singer dressed more conservatively than ever, but her pouting and posing for photographs was deemed "disrespectful" by staff and she was asked to leave.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is open until 10:00PM every day (last entry at 9:30PM) and is a must-see at night. It opens at 9:00AM from Saturday to Thursday. Fridays are closed to non-worshippers during Jumma time, but open to tourists from 4:30PM. The mosque runs its own walk-in tours at 10:00AM, 11:00AM and 5:00PM from Sunday to Thursday, 5:00PM and 7:00PM on Fridays, and 10:00AM, 11:00AM, 2:00PM, 5:00PM, and 7:00PM on Saturdays.
Entrance to the mosque is free. Walking tours are also free and last from 45 minutes to an hour.
In accordance with Islamic customs, visitors are required to wear long, loose-fitting, and opaque clothing. Legs (at least to the ankles) and shoulders must be covered. Visitors failing to dress accordingly will be refused entry.
- When should I visit?Make the most of the coolest period of the year, between November and February!
- Is it expensive?Entry is free of charge.
- Will I need a guide?It's advisable, so that you can maximize your visit by learning all about the mosque's unique cultural concept! Tours can be booked in advance or joined on the day.
- How to get thereTaxis in Abu Dhabi are affordable, so don't hesitate to use one to get to the mosque directly.
- Additional information*During the month of Ramadan, please note that the mosque is open from Saturdays to Thursdays from 9:00AM to 2:00PM.
What people are saying about Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Our first trip to Abu Dhabi and thanks to the super organisation of our guide Mohammed Ikbal and his driver we saw so much and were given a lot of very interesting facts about both the country, its traditions and people. He wa able to get the whole party to keep to time so that we got some extra stops along the way and the driver was good too - a very memorable day for my wife and I thank you.
The tour was very well organized and guide M Basheer very professional, kind and always ready to explain and to offer additional translation in Italian for my mother who does not speak italian. The visit to the mosque was very worth it, for me a unique experience. I also enjoyed the Ethiad tower tour. Very satisfied of the experience and the attention put by Mr Basheer to anticipate all our possible needs. I surely recommend It.
Great day and a great guide, Riswan (if I have spelled his name correctly) whose bubbling enthusiasm and passion for statistics livened up the day no end. We could have used a bit more time in the Louvre even if it meant a bit less in the mosque. My only niggle was the minibus which was noisy and not particularly comfortable, but just about OK for an hour or so.
Our guide Haseeb was very kknowelable and friendly! Ready to answer all of our questions. Very much recommended indeed
We had a very good driver and our guide was very knowledgeable. Gave us so much good information now can go on line and review. Thank you so much. Shukran lak. As-salamu ‘alaykum.