The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Located in the middle east region of Asia having seven emirates namely; Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras-Al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al-Quwain. Its capital is Abu Dhabi, the second most populous city. Abu Dhabi (AUH) has a fine architecture and was planned under the guidance of Sheikh Zayed by a Japanese Architect. AUH used to be famous for pearl business as the Persian gulf is the perfect location for the pearls. When I was still in my home country making plans to work in Dubai, the first place I wanted to visit was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque because its interiors were really amazing in pictures. I said what more in real life?
As we travel for a short day trip to Abu Dhabi, we need to wear presentable clothes, as much as possible without showing any skin, applied both to men and women; conservative. The main reason why in every Dubai related blog that I write, I would always advise to visit UAE in the winter time so you can make the most of your trip here.
En route to The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Angelo and I met at Ibn Battuta at around 11am so we can ride the bus together, and AUH is much closer when you’re coming from Ibn, making the travel time much faster. From Ibn Battuta Station, you can ride a bus for a ticket price of 25 AED (7$) and a total of 50 AED (14$) for a two-way ticket. There is also a bus available in Al Ghubaiba Bus Station if you are staying near that place. To have a better travel planning, kindly check RTA’s website here. Travel time is approximately 40-50 minutes. We got off at Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station, had a quick lunch at Al Wahda Mall (in front of the bus terminal) and took a taxi to visit the grand mosque. We paid 80 AED (22$) for a two-way ride taxi.
Spotting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque wouldn’t be hard for anyone. We were greeted by its big, marble, and white domes I got more and more excited as we go near. Established by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and considered as the largest mosque in Abu Dhabi. The structure is incredible that even if I just saw it once, I know definitely there will be a second, third, and many more to come. We are first-time visitors of the emirate and also first to enter a mosque so it was a bit intriguing to what it looks inside.
For first timers like us to visit the Grand Mosque, here’s what you need to know:
- Bring extra batteries/memory card for your camera and power bank for your mobile if that’s what you use to take a picture. The mosque is truly majestic and you would want to take a lot of pictures of its interiors.
- Dress accordingly. Give respect to their religion by dressing correctly when you visit their sacred place. For women, you will be provided with an abaya (loose-fitting robe) and shalia (headscarf) near the entrance but make sure to be dressed respectfully. Men, no shorts, and tank tops.
- No shoes. All visitors are required to remove their shoes upon entering the grounds. Don’t worry, they’ll be there when you return later.
- Foods and drinks are not allowed inside.
Entry is FREE and you can join a day tour. To know their tour timings, check their official website here.
While inside the mosque, remain respectful at all times. Women should cover even their hair that’s why they gave you shalia for that. Refrain from any display of affection between men and women. So, no touching even on photographs. Hands off the Quran.
Facts about The Grand Mosque:
Fact 1: Presenting you the world’s largest chandelier placed inside a mosque weighing twelve tons. It has approximately 40kg of 24 karats galvanized gold.
Fact 2: Around 41,000 worshippers can worship at the same time in this mosque. (Note: The space in this picture is small because the whole mosque can’t be accessed by the public.)
Fact 3: Different building materials were shipped from countries like Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, China, India, and Pakistan.
Fact 4: This beautiful 5,700 sqm carpet in the main prayer hall is the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. Taking around 8 months to design, 12 months to knot, and 2 months to transport.
Fact 5: The construction began in 1996 with more than 3,000 workers and 38 contracting companies to construct the mosque. It was opened for worship Year 2007.
The Grand Mosque is now checked off our list for this year but we would definitely love to revisit or plan to see other mosques as well, hopefully, Taj Mahal in India when it’s still open for public. I don’t know what’s in me with having a thing for white and large architectural designs.
Remember not to take only photos with you, but also knowledge and experience. Ask locals inside the grounds or wherever place you go. You’ll be surprised with stories they can share you.
Check out our other pictures/photo credits by: Angelo W.
Love & Light,