My last must-see stop in the UAE was the Shk Zayed Grand Mosque in the country’s capital city, Abu Dhabi. The mosque is the third largest mosque in the world and receives millions of visitors each year…and for good reason. Read on for my top four reasons to visit.
The grandeur – the mosque is encompassed in grandeur with a lot of the design consisting of marble, gold, semi-precious stones and crystals. From the pillars to the enormous gold chandeliers inside the mosque, the mosque is a work of art, and quite something to see and appreciate.
The dress code – the dress code is very strict and what I loved about it is that it’s also very organized. You may arrive at the mosque in your usual clothes after which you will be led to a changing room to pick out an abaya for you to change into or wear on top of your clothes (for free!). The abaya is a simple loose over-garment worm by Muslim women, covering the legs, arms and head. This was my first time wearing one and so it was an interesting experience. When leaving the mosque, you’ll change back into the clothes you came in – easy.
The free Informative tour – the mosque has 60 minute free tours running several times a day. The tour was fun, interactive and very informative. Our guide was a pleasant Emirati lady and she explained a lot about the mosque, Islam as well as the Emirati culture, and she welcomed a lot of questions. It was a beautiful experience and a chance to get enlightened on a lot of things that I did not know.
The Guinness world record – surprisingly, the Guinness world record has nothing to do with the structure of the mosque or those gorgeous chandeliers…but rather, the carpet! The mosque has the largest hand-woven carpet in the world. It took 1,200 Persian women 18 months to hand-weave the creation that was created in 9 parts and assembled inside the mosque.
PS: No shoes allowed while in the mosque.
Have you visited Abu Dhabi? Did you check out the Shk Zayed Grand Mosque? What stood out to you? Do share your thoughts in the reply section below.