The Grandeur of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Looking at my photos of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque made me realize that they don’t deserve to be in a post on a day in Abu Dhabi; they deserve to be in a dedicated one to properly showcase the mosque’s splendor and beauty. Big words, especially that I actually had no intention of going to the capital of the United Arab Emirates until it was brought up by the Korean and Chinese I met at the hostel. So, shall we?

We arrived at the bus terminal in Abu Dhabi just before midday struck and took a taxi to get to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. At ten minutes past twelve, I took my first photo of the structure and instantly grasped that when in Dubai, you just gotta go to Abu Dhabi, too. Standing in all its white glory, it’s unquestionably a must-see.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Ingress

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there sure is a thing as a free entrance to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Of course, you have to be dressed appropriately to get inside the compound. If you didn’t do your assignment, don’t fret just yet, as there’s abaya and shayla and thawb for everyone at the entrance. My clothes didn’t require me to wear a thawb but I would’ve loved to wear one as part of the experience if it weren’t for the fact that it was gonna be uncomfortable because it was scorching and I sweat like mad. #jabar

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the background

Inappropriate behaviors, which include poses for your photos, are not tolerated so cooperate accordingly. Rihanna was kicked out after doing a pose similar to one of my so-called signature poses. We don’t want that, do we.

Getting through the gate, I was immediately in awe as I approached the mosque. Its utter whiteness was very striking (reminiscent of the Panathenaic Stadium in Greece, if I may say); its minarets, columns, and reflecting pools gave the most wonderful welcome.

Rules inside Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Minarets, columns, and reflecting pool

Minarets, columns, and reflecting pool

The Grand Mosque

Footwear is prohibited in the building so don’t expect it to be a part of your OOTD while inside. See those golden circles? They’re not like the one in Kingsman; they’re where footwear were left.

Entrance to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Entrance to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Entrance to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in the background

The first photo that I took once inside the mosque was that of the intricately designed ceiling. The off-limits courtyard, with its beautiful floral design, opens up to a marvelous view of the minarets and the domes housing the prayer hall.

Ceiling design

Marble mosaic courtyard

There were a lot of people by the blockade so it wasn’t easy getting a photograph with the courtyard and prayer hall’s facade.

Marble mosaic courtyard

Marble mosaic courtyard

Marble mosaic courtyard

From there we turned left where another perspective of the columns awaited. Floral designs were all over the place—from the ceiling to the columns and to the floor.

Columns

Columns and reflecting pool

The courtyard, given how grand of a marble mosaic it was, deserved photos from multiple angles. Photographed below are our destination and where we entered.

Marble mosaic courtyard

Marble mosaic courtyard

Towards the prayer hall were more decorations—stained glass, decorative tilework, and more flowers on the walls. It just doesn’t get any better, I’m telling you. Everything was becoming more intricate wherever you look, with the ceilings looking like they’re about to warp you.

Wall designs

Ceiling design

Outside the prayer hall

And oh, oh, did I mention that there were chandeliers? Man, they were the most exquisite!

Chandelier outside the prayer hall

Chandelier outside the prayer hall

Flowers on the walls outside the prayer hall

Chandelier outside the prayer hall

There was also a pretty floral clock displaying different times which I initially thought was of different countries. Apparently they were a schedule of prayers, particularly the daily obligatory ones.

Schedule of daily obligatory prayers

Outside the prayer hall

Prayer Hall

As it turned out, the prayer hall had a lot more in store. Aside from the head-to-toe shift in ornaments from the outside (not in a negative way, of course!), it sported the largest carpet there was and on the wall were the 99 names of Allah, in Arabic calligraphy. The place was essentially off-limits as well but there was still a path tourists could follow and, most importantly, taking photos was still allowed.

Prayer hall interior

99 names of Allah

Prayer hall interior

I wonder if Sia could handle these?

Chandelier in the prayer hall

I could use all the superlative adjectives to describe everything my eyes were processing but I guess there’s no better way than to just let the photos do all the talking.

Prayer hall interior

Prayer hall interior

Selfie in the prayer hall

Columns and books in the prayer hall

Prayer hall interior design

Columns in the prayer hall

Wall designs in the prayer hall

Chandeliers in the prayer hall

You should never miss visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque when in Abu Dhabi Dubai for a few days (flew there for only ₱9,358.58). You just shouldn’t. Herewith is Gary and Min, the company that I’m very thankful for for that day. We were in the building complex for almost two hours, with me and Min heading to the lovely Emirates Palace afterwards and Gary going back ahead to Dubai to climb Burj Khalifa.

Gary, Min, and me

Stained glass

Columns

Twinnings

Columns, minaret, and reflecting pool

Reflecting pool

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Tips

  • Check the complex’s operating hours, especially when going there on your own #DIY and not on a tour. You wouldn’t wanna be very excited to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque only to find out that it’s closed during your time in Abu Dhabi.
  • It’s common knowledge that there’s a dress code. Men should avoid shorts and sleeveless shirts while women should cover most of their skin. If for some reason you can only wear any of the prohibited clothes or even after not doing so they still deem a part of your OOTD inappropriate, they have cloaks (nope, not like Harry’s) for both genders as already mentioned.
  • Having said those, that doesn’t mean that you can actually wear the skimpiest of clothes. You’re in a holy place so be respectful and dress suitably.
  • As far as I know, you can always ask to wear the traditional clothing even if you’re already properly dressed. If it won’t cause you discomfort, go for it for the experience. It’ll also make all the difference in your photos.
  • There may be guided tours throughout the day so watch out for them to learn more about the building complex.
  • IMO, visiting in the afternoon is the most ideal. It couldn’t be as hot as the rest of the day and you can stay past sunset to witness the complex transform when it becomes illuminated at night. I bet those reflecting pools do wonders!
  • Food and drinks are verboten so to avoid the Hunger Games you might wanna refuel ahead if you intend to stay inside for a couple of hours.

Behind the Scenes

When it was time to share photos I found out that Min had snaps of me shooting this and that. The first on the list was my being a selfie lord. What can I say!? Selfie!

Selfie lord at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Selfie lord at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Then there were those that captured my earnestness in capturing the courtyard and ceilings, as if I had the most expensive camera that doesn’t deserve mediocrity.

Professional photographer in Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Lastly, that moment when a family asked me to take their photo was also not spared. BTS was so good that I look like I actually know how to use a DLRS DSLR. Say “Cheese~!”

Professional photographer in Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Visited: November 2017

Nelson

View posts by Nelson
An outdated software engineer with the attention span of a fruit fly. Follow me on Instagram if you can!

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