Abu Dhabi hosts the third largest mosque in the world – after the ones in Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia.
It is named after the founder and first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He chose the location and took substantial influence on the architecture and the design of the mosque. Based on his vision, the mosque was built with the rise of 11 metres above sea level, and 9.5 metres above the street level so that it is clearly visible from all directions.
It is built as a monument to consolidate Islamic culture and a prominent centre for Islamic sciences.
According to his wish, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is also the last resting place of its name giver, who passed away in 2004.
Inside views of Sheikh Zayed Mosque
For the interior design, calligraphers from the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Jordan supervised the work of artists from all over the world. Verses from the Holy Quran are written in three types of Arabic calligraphy.
The carpet in the main prayer hall is considered to be the world’s largest carpet made by Iran’s Carpet Company and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi. This carpet measures 5,627 m2 (60,570 sq ft), and was made by around 1,200-1,300 carpet knotters. There are 2,268,000,000 knots within the carpet and it took approximately two years to complete.
The mosque’s spectacularly decorated interior features unique plants designed specifically for the mosque, as well as verses from the Holly Quran.
The 96 columns in the main prayer hall are clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl, one of the few places where you will see this craftsmanship.
Major international companies specialised in the manufacturing of crystal chandeliers garnished the mosque with seven gold-plated chandeliers in different sizes, made of Swarovski crystals. The largest of the lustres is the largest in the world.
Some interesting facts about Sheikh Zayed Mosque
* The complex covers an area of 22,412 m2.
* 33,000 tons of steel and 250,000 m3 of concrete were used. They lay on 6,500 foundation piles.
* The courtyard has a total of 1,048 columns.
* A total of 82 domes belong to the mosque.
* The main dome is the largest mosque dome in the world: 85 metres high with a diameter of 32.8 metres.
* Some 41,000 worshippers can be accommodated in the mosque, 7,126 in the main prayer hall.