End of April 2015, I was invited to a workshop in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Being my first trip to the middle east, I was super excited. Though I had to spend 9 – 6 at the meetings, I had enough time to visit other places in the evenings. The initial idea was to have one blog post for the entire trip. However, after visiting the grand mosque, I decided to have one post exclusively for the trip to the mosque.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is relatively new. The construction was completed in 2007. The entrance is free and the best time to visit is right before sunset. In that way, it is possible to see the mosque at dusk as well as under lights. There are certain rules for dress code.
Even if you are not wearing the permissible attire, you can borrow the right outfit near the mosque. There were couple of guys wearing shorts, but all the women were wearing a full black dress.
The entrance to the mosque is free. I walked around the mosque for sometime before entering the mosque – there is a place to leave the footwear.
Once inside, there is a room with beautiful wall carvings.
However, the best part was when I walked through the inner doors. Immediately, I was reminded of the feeling I had entering the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The first thing to notice is the high ceiling and the colourful chandeliers. The spectacle is such that I saw many others standing awe stuck at the entrance.
Apart from the ceiling, another striking feature is the carpet covering the entire mosque – it is the world’s largest carpet and took 2 years to complete.
I spent about an hour wandering in the mosque. I then wandered around the gardens located to the right of the mosque along with the burial grounds (taking pictures was forbidden) of the former Emir of Abu Dhabi and first President of UAE – Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Overall, a wonderful experience. I did miss the opportunity to see the mosque under lights. I will update the post once I have night pictures from my colleague. In my next post, I will share my visit to Masdar city, Emirates palace and the Corniche beach.