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Tips For Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque | Abu Dhabi

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world and should be at the top of your list of things to do in Abu Dhabi. Be in awe of the unique architecture, spectacular minarets, and divine details as you wander around. If you are planning on visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, this guide will give you all the tips you need before you go.

Central prayer area in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Central prayer area in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

7 Interesting Facts About Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

  1. The mosque cost $545 million to create.
  2. The mosque was completed in 2007 and is the largest in the UAE.
  3. Over 41,000 worshippers can be accommodated in the mosque including 7,000 in the main prayer hall.
  4. The huge carpet (5,625 sq.m.) in the main prayer hall made by Iranian craftsmen is the largest in the world.
  5. Seven imported chandeliers from Munich, Germany incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals.
  6. The mosque features 82 domes of Moroccan design.
  7. You can find over 1,000 columns covered in white marble inlaid with coloured marble, semi-precious stones, and mother of pearl.

Top Tips For Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

How To Get To Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

BY CAR: Visiting Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque is pretty easy but I do recommend putting it into Google Maps, there are a few wrong roads that can have you driving around for a while. It is located on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, Abu Dhabi – CLICK for directions to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

BY BUS: From Abu Dhabi, the journey takes 45 minutes on bus 032 or 054. From Dubai, you need to get the bus from Ibn Battuta Metro bus stop to Abu Dhabi Bus Station which takes 1h 30m and pick the bus up from there.

ORGANISED TOUR: Travelling from Dubai, booking a half-day tour takes the stress away with round-trip transfers from your hotel in Dubai with a professional guide thrown in too!

View of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from the outside
The exterior of Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque’s Opening Times

The opening times for visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque are Saturday-Thursday from 9 am-10 pm, and Fridays 4.30 pm-10 pm.

If you wish to visit in the Holy Month of Ramadan, open hours are from 9 am – 3 pm, from Saturday to Thursday with the last admission at 2:30 pm.

Choose Your Time Of Day Wisely

My first visit was in the middle of the day and wearing the abayas felt a little bit like being in a greenhouse. My second visit was later in the day which was cooler but not cold by any means and we got to see the sunset behind the beautiful structure as we left.

Only Take Essential Items With You

On arrival, you’re split into 2 queues; male and female. You will go through a metal detector before entering the mosque so take the basics to avoid holding up the queue. Believe me, I’ve been that person behind the woman with her kitchen sink in her bag and not 1 but 3 bottles of perfume. Bring your camera and phone, and leave the rest in the car.

Dress Appropriately

Dress conservatively and wear loose-fitting clothes. Men should not wear shorts. Remember you’re visiting the mosque, not the beach.

Ladies, you will be given an abaya if your attire is deemed inappropriate. After the metal detectors, you are guided to a side room full of standard-issue abayas for your use.

The abaya that is handed to you may not necessarily fit well but keep moving. The sheer length of my abayas was out of control, I envisaged tripping over and face-planting on the marble. We tried various ways to combat this such as holding the extra length and fashioning a knot at the hip until a guard politely shook his head at our new look and kindly advised us to tuck it into the waist of our shorts. That perfect answer, he’d come across this before from daft Westerners.

Wear slip-off shoes as you need to remove them before entering the mosque. Stating the obvious but go for flats, not heels!

Sunglasses are also a must to cope with the mix of the sunshine and the glaring white marble.

Vanessa from She Wanders Miles visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
Dressed in an Abayaat Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

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Be Respectful

Respect the local culture and abide by the rules on your visit; no touching the Quran as a non-muslim, avoid affection, keep your hair covered as a woman either with the hood of the abaya or a scarf and keep your voice low, this is a place of worship. 

Free To Enter Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Unlike most attractions in the UAE, visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is free to enter so what are you waiting for?

Take A Free Guided Tour

The 30-minute free guided tours of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque happen every hour from noon – 8 pm on Sun-Thurs and are less frequent on Fridays and Saturdays. There are 45-minute tours also, so best to check the Grand Mosque website for the current schedule before you leave.

Book A Tour With A Grand Mosque Visit

If you want to take all the hassle out of visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, why not book an organised tour? Here are some top-rated popular tours to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to check out.

Central area in Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
Central area in Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

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One Comment

  1. I’ve just been visiting mosques all over Istanbul and fallen in love with them and now I read about the greatest one of them all? Plane tickets are getting booked very soon my dear! 🙂

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