I am constantly mesmerized by the vast variety of architectural styles present in this world - most of these statues, structures and buildings were created far before cranes, planes or trains. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on the other hand is not as historical as it was completed in 2007. Regardless, it embodies more culture than one could deem imaginable.
It was my second time visiting this mosque (one time pre Rihanna scandal), and I can honestly say it is one of my favorite places I have ever had the grace of experiencing. I could go back every week and never get sick of the rich details it has to offer. I am the most fascinated with the colors of the walls, columns and the carpet that are harmonized together with symphonic elegance.
2012 vs 2015
These pictures do not do this structure justice, and neither do words. I'll keep this simple with a few fast facts.
82 white marble domes with moroccan design
More than 1,000 columns in the outer areas.
Marble panels decorated in floral designs that snake up the walls with semi-precious stones.
Accommodates 40,000 worshipers.
Swarovski Chandelier, largest in the world, made in Germany.
Has a lighting system that follows the phases of the moon.
World's Largest hand-crafted carpet. Designed by Ali Shaliqi made by 1,300 talented artisans.
Do it for the instagram photos.
Ladies, you're in luck because the mosque provides clean, and complimentary (even embroidered) abaya's for visitors. With that being said, it is always important to dress respectfully around the UAE. Underneath my abaya I was wearing high waisted, wide legged jersey trousers from ASOS and a loose fitting blouse that covered my shoulders. I will admit, I have eternal respect for women who wear abayas on a daily basis. They are very elegant and form flattering yet it is still 100+ degrees outside and very warm underneath it all. Plus, I would love to learn how to properly wrap a hijab (headscarf) as it decided to blow with the wind with every step I took.
Men, wear pants (jeans are fine), with a shoulder covering top. If you don't have this with you, they will also provide a dish-dash for you to wear.
Because the mosque is the perfect backdrop.
In all - add this place to your bucket list. Especially because it is right at the epicenter of Abu Dhabi. Check the times before you go to the mosque because it is often closed to tourists during times of prayer. Bring your camera.
If it's too hot, cool off at Wadi Adventure.