The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the largest mosque in the UAE and the seventh largest mosque in the world — it features 82 domes, 24 carat gold chandeliers, the world’s largest hand knotted carpet and can accomodate up to 40.000 persons.
This gorgeous place was built in honour of the memory of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the beloved ‘Father of the United Arab Emirates’, as many Emirati call him, who died in 2004.
This architectural beauty was meant not only as a place of prayer for Muslims, but also as a true gem for all visitors to Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Zayed imagined a place of worship that would help people come together, and understand and see Islam as a religion that has a message of peace, tolerance and diversity. This diversity is also reflected by the architects’ choices for the project, as they managed to bring together designers, features, materials and suppliers from nearly every corner of the globe.
The mosque has a total of 82 large round domes with 7 different sizes, all inspired by the Badshahi Mosque of Lahore, Pakistan, and for their construction were used marbles from Aquabiana and Biano (Italy), Prilep (Macedonia), Makrana (India).
The beautiful mosaics were made with blue lapis lazuli red agate, transparent violet of amethyst, iridescent blues, greens and purples of abalone shell, and creamy white mother of pearl. The gorgeous floral pattern is repeated on the qibla wall, but with color modulation, in order to avoid reducing the worshippers’ concentration during prayers.
The shining chandelier below the entrance dome is one of the seven golden chandeliers that were made in Germany and that include Italian glasswork and Austrian Swarovski crystals. Each lamp can weigh from 8 to 12 tons and is suspended by a steel can withstand forces up to 36 tons.
The luxurious carpet with its specially designed patterns took the women of Khorasan in Iran 2 years to weave from New Zealand wool. The specialist carpet makers were flown to Abu Dhabi to join it all together as the largest carpet in the world (5,700 square meters).
In the main courtyard of the mosque, a sparkling white space of reflection pools and pillars provides enough space for 30,000 people. This area was inspired by Pakistan Badshahi Mosque and the Mosque Hassan II in Morocco, and decorated with white marble and mosaics from Greece.
The final result is breathtaking, not only in sheer size, but also in architectural and creative beauty.
It welcomes visitors from all over the world, no matter what religion, with the aim of achieving positive interaction with other cultures. Hopefully it will amaze you just as much as it did to me!
Have you ever visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi?