The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world and should be on 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 round. If you are planning on visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, this guide will give you all the tips you need before you go.
7 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE
- The mosque cost $545 million to create.
- The mosque was completed in 2007 and is the largest in the UAE.
- Over 41,000 worshippers can be accommodated in the mosque including 7,000 in the main prayer hall.
- The huge carpet (5,625 sq.m.) in the main prayer hall made by Iranian craftsmen is the largest in the world.
- There are seven imported chandeliers from Munich, Germany that incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals.
- The mosque features 82 domes of Moroccan design.
- You can find over 1,000 columns covered in white marble inlaid with coloured marble, semi-precious stones and mother of pearl.
TOP TIPS ON 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’s 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 Sheijh 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!
Sheikh Zayed Mosque opening times
The opening times for visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque are Saturday-Thursday from 9am-10pm, Fridays 4.30pm-10pm.
If you wish to visit in in the Holy Month of Ramadan, opens hours are from 9am – 3pm, from Saturday to Thursday with last admission at 2:30pm.
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 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, leave the rest in the car.
Dress conservatively and think 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. Perfect answer, he’d clearly come across this before from daft Westerners.
Wear slip off shoes as you need to remove 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.
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 voices low, this is a place of worship.
Take a free guided tour
The 30 minute free guided tours of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque happen are every hour from noon-8pm on Sun-Thurs and less frequent on Friday and Saturday. There are 45 minute tours also, so best to check the Grand Mosque website for current schedule before you leave.
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?
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