السلام عليكم Assalamualaikum
As my journey through the middle east continues, we headed south west to the capital of Abu Dhabi. A city so quiet, you would not even have know that it is indeed the capital of the United Arab Emirates. In fact, the city is developing at a slow pace, they are now almost catching up with the fast moving Dubai. Even though public transport such as a rail or metro system is not there yet, I feel that it brings up the exclusivity of the city as not everyone can make their way around easily without proper transportation planned. Well all that aside, we headed to the well known Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, late president of the United Arab Emirates, have a great vision on how he wants to make Abu Dhabi a center of attraction. A place where everyone will want to come and visit. A place where everyone will talk about in awe. A place everyone can bow in the most luxurious manner. A place where one world record is not enough. A place where size definitely matters.
مرحبا بكم في مسجد الشيخ زايد الكبير Welcome to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque 30 acres of land area (exclusive of parking and landscape area). The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center (SZGMC) is one of the largest in the world. The 2 billion Dirham project is so huge and delicate, it took almost 11 years to complete between 1996 to 2007.
Some key features about the construction of the amazing architectural marvel includes utilizing artisans and materials from more than 13 countries including India, Malaysia, Morocco, Germany, Iran, just to name a few and having 3000 workers working on site to build this place of worship.
Some interesting records and features that you might want to take note before going to the SZGMC to see it for yourself. They are as follows.
The world largest carpet is located in the main prayer hall of the mosque. It was made by an Iranian company and design by an Iranian artist, Ali Khaliqi. Measuring more than 5000 square meters and made by approximately 1300 knotters, it took them about 2 years to complete the entire carpet with 2286 million knots.
Seven chandeliers were imported from Munich, Germany that was made up of millions of swarovski crystals. It is known to be one of the largest chandeliers in the world, currently in second and third place behind Reflective flow in Doha. It is so large, you would have had to enter the chandelier to change a light bulb.
Pools around the mosques are designed to accentuate the columns of the mosque. With the lighting design which helps to illuminate the mosque at night, clouded lighting is also projected on the white marble and it really does bring the mosque to live in both day and night.
96 columns in the main prayer hall cladded with white marble and inlaid with mother of pearl. Probably one of the very few places in the world that would feature such craftsmanship in an architectural level.
99 names (qualities and tributes) of Allah makes up the wall facing the Qibla. Written and designed in a very traditional Kufic calligraphy featuring a very subtle amount of fiber optic lighting that makes the entire wall extremely beautiful as you bow down to Him during your prayers. It is definitely very calming when you look at the specific wall.
You might think its a non-significant place. but the ablution area is also as beautiful as the other part of the mosque.
On the north side of the mosque, there is a smaller building which is the mausoleum of the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. A beautiful resting place for the late president right beside the building he envisioned himself. (no photography is allowed at the mausoleum)
Well that is all for my trip to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center I took a lot more photos over my three trips to the mosque. Perhaps I will share more next time on my Instagram! Until next time as we discover more of Abu Dhabi!