Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Abu Dhabi Travel Blog

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The marble wall of the entrance to the mosque
This beautiful mosque is open to visit by tourists between 10am and 11.30am each day. There is no cover charge, and as we arrive we are given an abaya and head scarf to wear, the clothing worn by Emerates women. We are invited to take our shoes off to go inside. Immediately I am struck by the scale and beauty of the mosque. Tall marble columns with delicate and intricate insertions of lilies, topped by gold painted mouldings. The entrance is a massive marble wall with coloured marble overlays of weaving stems and flowers and these are reflected in the shining marble floors. Huge crystal chandeliers hang from the intricately layers and patterned domes. The carpet is woven with colourful patterns of greens, blues, reds, creasms and yellows.
One of the crystal chandeliers
The main wall is white gold, silver and gold and reflects the ninety nine names of Allah. The main prayer room is huge. This is truly a place of worship, I feel in awe of its beauty and stillness, knowing already there have been two calls to prayer, and three more to follow today. In the five calls to prayer each day, beginning at dawn, and ending late at night, hundreds of people will come and respond to the call, carrying prayer mats and shoulder to shoulder, will stand and then kneel, and chant, as an integral part of their day. Already I feel stirred in hearing the wail, a karanga, in the mosque near where I am staying. I can imagine hearing this five times a day, creates a stillness, a certainty, and a sense of belonging so valuable in a busy life.
Inside the mosque, the main prayer room for men


We see the stained glass windows in delicate blues and whites. There is paua shell from New Zealand embedded in the mosaic flowers of the columns. I feel an immediate sense of pride that something from our country has contributed to this magnificent building. I imagine this building will be here in centuries to come. The cool long shaded portico walkways circle the four sides of the huge central courtyard, and provide a respite from the intense heat. Here and there tiled mosaic pictures are inserted into alcoves.

The gardens are being constructed and cool water pools, palm trees and gardens add to the serenity and beauty of this special place.

Sheikh Zayed's tomb is here. His grave is simple white marble with white stones and an eternal flame alongside.
Me and wall with the 99 names of Allah in white gold, white and silver
Surrounded by a carved wall, two imans provide oversight with continuous chants, one invoking the other throughout the day and night. Two guards are present at the gate to the tomb.

April and I had lunch on the balcony of the Sheraton. From there we can see the mosque, separated by the sea, then sand and then this magical structure with the intense blue sky behind it. It was great to be here with an old friend. We'd grown up together and it was truly a delight to have her show me this beautiful mosque in her home town.

I learned a little of the extraordinary impact of the revered Sheikh Zayed, who as a young man in the 1960's, became the ruler of Abu Dhabi. He found a way of opening the coffers, filled with the unspent proceeds of selling oil. by making this money available to the people of Abu dhabi, he encouraged his people to venture into business, adn become educated and build and provide infrastructure taking the people in this tiny state from being pearl fishermen and desert dwellers to educated traders and business owners. Sheikh Zayed promoted the idea of the seven emerite states uniting and in 1971 became the UAE's first ruler. His son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded him in 2004. 
leorawrs81 says:
Enjoyed this quite a bit!
Posted on: Jun 02, 2009
travelfan1963 says:
Congratulations on your feature!
Posted on: Jun 02, 2009
Vikram says:
Diana, congrats on your featured blog. It's very well deserved. I loved your pictures and your descriptions. And looking at the fact that you got out of the UAE safe, it means you didn't have sex on the beach!!!
Posted on: Jun 02, 2009
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The marble wall of the entrance to…
The marble wall of the entrance t…
One of the crystal chandeliers
One of the crystal chandeliers
Inside the mosque, the main prayer…
Inside the mosque, the main praye…
Me and wall with the 99 names of A…
Me and wall with the 99 names of …
The columns looking out to the cen…
The columns looking out to the ce…
The central courtyard looking towa…
The central courtyard looking tow…
Looking up to one of the chandelie…
Looking up to one of the chandeli…
One of the patterns on the carpet
One of the patterns on the carpet
Mother of pearl and paua shell inl…
Mother of pearl and paua shell in…
fine marble detailing on external …
fine marble detailing on external…
Looking down one of the porticos t…
Looking down one of the porticos …
Sheikh Zayed mosque Abu Dhabi from…
Sheikh Zayed mosque Abu Dhabi fro…
Abu Dhabi
photo by: JP-NED