5 Tips When Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the late president of United Arab Emirates who intends to unite Islamic world's cultural diversity with the modern take on art and architecture.

A TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice, the mosque opened its doors in 2007 and features 4 minarets and 82 domes which symbolizes different Islamic styles and presents religious values and concepts. The structure can accommodate more than 40,000 tourists and believers.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

A must-see and as Abu Dhabi's major tourist draw, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in UAE is designed in pure white color architecture. It's elegance is very much evident on its white marbled walls, spectacular columns adorned by gold, imported chandeliers made up of Swarovski crystals (second largest inside a mosque), semi-precious stones, ceramics and crystals.

This breathtaking structure was constructed by international artisans using materials coming from a lot of countries like Pakistan, India, Morocco, Malaysia, Italy, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Republic of Macedonia, Germany, New Zealand and UAE.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

My friend and I visited the grand mosque last April. The summer heat is starting to set in so we opted to visit in the afternoon and planned to stay til night to see the mosque all lit up. Below are some tips that may come handy when planning your visit. 

Tip No. 1: How to Get there
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located between the three major bridges (Mussafah, Maqta and Sheikh Zayed) that connects Abu Dhabi City to the main land. Visitors with cars may enter the mosque from the south gate's car park entrance. If you're planning to commute, the closest bus stop is located around 10 minutes from the mosque's entrance. From the city, taxi fare could cost around Dh30. The mosque is open daily from 9am to 10pm Admission if FREE!

Wearing abaya inside Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Tip No. 2: Wear Proper Attire
For women, to take in that genuine Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque experience, I highly recommend that you try wearing the abaya. For us non-Muslims, this is a great chance to wear the traditional black robe worn by Muslim women. The abaya are provided for free but you will be asked to surrender your country's valid government id in exchange for the abaya (passport not accepted). Good thing I have my unified multi-purpose ID.

If you're not into wearing the abaya, be sure you adhere to their strict dress code policy and get covered from head to wrist to ankle (headscarf is a must). No tight fitting, transparent clothes and no shorts for men.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque's interior

Tip No. 3: Abide by the Rules
Taking photos is allowed but be careful when posing for the camera, else you may end up just like Rihanna who was asked to leave after posing provocatively. Also, you can not pose without your head covered. Be reminded that you are in a place of worship so respect the tradition of another culture and no loud talking and laughing. No intimate behavior like kissing and holding hands.

Tip No. 4: Spots Not to be Missed
One of the mosques unique elements is the carpet in the main prayer hall. All visitors are asked to leave their shoes, hence you get to feel what's like standing on the world's largest carpet measuring 60,570 square feet. 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque's stunning chandelier, carpet and pillars

Tip No. 5: Stay for Sunset
At night, watch the mosque's grandeur with its unique lighting system designed to reflect the phases of the moon. We sat for a while merely gazing at the reflection of the walls under the bluish sky, it radiates a feeling of calmness, of peace. The place is very much conducive for meditation.   . 

the mosques golden pillars

The mosque's exterior walls after prayer time

splendid golden leaf pillars

When in Abu Dhabi, see for yourself UAE's impressive landmark, the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.