Posted by: Waheeda Harris | October 11, 2013

Friday ritual: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

On a Friday, Abu Dhabi is similar to Dubai – its the first day of the weekend, the day for many to go to mosque and for those who can, to visit The Grand Mosque, the second largest in the world:

UAE - AD - Grand Mosque clock collage

At the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, there’s a large glittery lock that displays the prayer times in Arabic and English, showing the faithful what time they need to pray.

Its a stunning graceful building, a bold white contrast to the bright blue sky:

UAE - AD Grand Mosque exterior

And like any bold building, the Grand Mosque has quite the entrance:

UAE - Grand Mosque entrance

But once you’re inside, the Grand Mosque goes from a simple and elegant surroundings to a lavish and elegant interior, that’s best described as colourful:

UAE - Grand Mosque interior

Featuring the largest carpet in the world, the gold decoration is real gold, and the chandeliers are jaw-dropping sparklers, offering not just light, but a cascade of colours against the stone, jewels, marble and wood that makes up the interior pillars and wall decorations.

Its a calm and quiet place, where visitors are always welcome and admission is free. Clothing is provided for women if they’re not appropriately dressed, and everyone are encouraged to stay as long as they like within the peaceful environment.

As you wander, the numerous materials used in the decoration and mosaics are revealed, while the simple bookcases are everywhere, offering Korans to faithful.

UAE - GM inside

UAE - GM inside bookcase

And when you do leave, its an amazing architectural creation, one that took years to build, but will still be standing for centuries in the Abu Dhabi desert.

UAE - GM last look

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