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Sheikh Zayed Mosque is an impressive building in Abu Dhabi. This is a Mosque of beautiful architectural design and a must see for any visitor to the United Arabic Emirates. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the Emirates, it is located 130 kilometers from Dubai, it takes no longer than two hours driving through an excellent highway.
Most people arrive to the UAE to visit Dubai, and this city is certainly worth it, but Abu Dhabi is becoming more and more a focal point for tourists, there are huge developments, excellent hotels and luxurious shopping venues. The White Mosque –as many know this one- is one of the most important places in Abu Dhabi, it is the central place of worship for the nation and one that reflects the commitment towards progress and beauty. Driving from Dubai, Zayed Mosque is one of the first buildings that one sees in the city, it creates a lasting memory in visitors.
It is easy to visit the mosque; it is open every day from 9 am to 10 pm except on Fridays when it opens from 4 pm to 11 pm. The mosque closes for around 15 minutes during prayer times; Men are asked to dress modestly and never wear short pants. Women are asked to cover their head, the personnel of the mosque offer appropriate clothing for women free of charge. Taking pictures is not a problem, but one has to be mindful of not taking pictures of people. There are walking tours available at 10 am, 11 am and 4:30 pm. The entrance and tours are free of charge. Parking is free as well.
It is good to remember this is a site dedicated to prayer and diffusion of Islamic culture, so one has to keep in mind that when touring around it is good to keep a low voice and be respectful of others.
The mosque is just beautiful. It is so white, with water pools all around it. The design is impressive, with huge lamps and beautifully handmade rugs. The courtyard is said to be the largest example of a marble mosaic in the world, it incorporates pieces from India to Armenia and South Tirol in Italy.
The glass chandeliers were imported from Germany and they used millions of Swarovski crystals. The rug that is in the prayer hall was commissioned in Iran by a famous artist and as well is the biggest handmade rug of the world. There are 82 domes of different sizes and four minarets. It takes some time to admire all this beauty together. It is an amazing example of the kind of structures that can be built nowadays. Emiratis are certainly proud of their Mosque; the total cost was more than 600 million USD. Besides the Mosque itself there is a huge library that comprises a vast collection of books in different languages and places for conferences, ritual ablutions and rest. Visiting Sheikh Zayed Mosque is quite an experience, and a great way to fall in love with the history and architecture of the United Arabic Emirates.