Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the resting place of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan

The Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan Grand Mosque is one of the biggest in the world after the mosques of Mecca Medina and Al Aqsa. Located in Abu Dhabi, UAE, it’s a top tourist spot, built to honor Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The mosque was built from 1996 to 2007 and can hold up to 41,000 worshippers at once. Construction began in 1996 with an estimated cost of AED 2.5 billion. It took twelve years to complete, finishing in 2007.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque isn’t just a place for Muslims to pray, it’s a must-see for all visitors. Its unique design and architecture make it one of the top attractions in the capital.

Distinguished features of the iconic Sheikh Zayed grand mosque

Here are some of the features of the mosque that set it apart.


The mosque combines Ottoman, Mamluk, and Moroccan styles and has four tall towers called minarets.

Each minaret is 106 meters tall and has three parts: a base with Moroccan, Andalusian, and Mamluk designs, an octagonal middle, and a cylindrical top from the Ottoman era.

Each Minaret has a staircase passage that goes up but it is restricted for tourists and the general public.


Another prominent feature of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is its pillars. It has 1,188 pillars, with 96 inside the main prayer area, decorated with mother-of-pearl, a semi-precious gemstone.

The mosque’s columns are adorned with precious and semi-precious stones like lapis lazuli and amethyst, creating stunning symmetry. Inspired by date palms, each column has a golden palm tree top, attracting many photographers.

The Domes

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has 82 domes, with the largest being 85 meters tall. Inside, beautiful Moroccan art decorates the domes.

The central dome aligns perfectly with the main entrance arch, creating symmetry.

Each dome has tall windows that let natural sunlight into the prayer halls. The mosque’s side porches and main entrance also have smaller domes, adding to its symmetry and beauty.

White Marble

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is famous for its beautiful white marble. It was chosen by H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to symbolize purity. Imported from Macedonia, 100,000 tons were used to build the mosque, giving it its stunning appearance. The construction was carefully planned to create perfect patterns and symmetry, making it truly magnificent.

The Carpet

The main prayer hall of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque has the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. It took two years to make, trim, and transport it to the mosque. The carpet covers an area of 5,700 square meters.

Around 1,200 people worked on the carpet, creating nine sections that were assembled and woven together to create the final masterpiece. Designed by Iranian artist Dr. Ali Khaliqi, the carpet is made of 70% wool and 30% cotton.

Magnificent Chandeliers

The mosque features seven Faustig crystal chandeliers, with the largest being 10m wide by 15m high, weighing 12 tons. In the main prayer hall, two smaller replicas flank the main chandelier on each side, each weighing 8 tons. Made of brass, stainless steel, and 40kg of galvanized gold, they all contain Swarovski crystals. The largest one in the prayer hall, the second largest globally, hangs from the ceiling.

The Qibla Wall

The Qibla wall showcases all 99 of Allah’s traits in classic Kufic calligraphy, designed by renowned UAE calligrapher Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi. Modest fiber-optic lights accentuate its organic shape. The mosque features three handwriting styles: Naskhi, Thuluth, and Kufic.

In Islam, the Qibla wall directs towards the Holy Mosque of Mecca for prayer. The Imam stands alone at the Mehrab, a vertical golden arch-shaped column, leading the worshippers.


Interesting Facts about the Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi has the biggest carpet and a beautiful crystal chandelier, showing Islamic artistry. Here are some interesting facts about the mosque

Construction material from around the world

Materials from around the world were used to build the mosque, creating a unique and unmatched structure with special details. The material was gathered from:

  • New Zealand
  • Morocco
  • Egypt
  • Turkey
  • Greece
  • Pakistan
  • Italy
  • Germany

Chandeliers resembling upturned palms

The mosque’s crystal chandeliers, designed by Faustig, honor the late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan. Their palm tree-inspired design symbolizes UAE’s prosperity, with each detail conveying a significant message.

A lighting system which is connected to the lunar cycle

The mosque’s facade synchronizes with the lunar cycle, softly lighting up at night. Speirs and Associates crafted a 360-degree lighting system, changing from cool white during a full moon to a deeper blue as it wanes every two evenings.

Spiritual Importance of the mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi is not just architecturally stunning but also spiritually significant. It’s a place of prayer and comfort for Muslims, with its design following Islamic symmetry principles, creating a spiritual atmosphere. The intricate Quranic calligraphy promotes knowledge, spirituality, and unity.

Sightseeing outside the mosque’s parameters

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is among the world’s most visited tourist destinations, offering unique sightseeing spots outside its perimeter. One such spot is Wahat Al Karama, a national monument honoring UAE’s martyrs. It features a stunning lake view with the mosque’s reflection at its center.

How to dress up when visiting the grand mosque

In this blog, you can learn about various topics and gain knowledge about them. How to dress up when visiting the grand mosque

There is a dress code for entering the mosque. Men should wear long trousers and cover their shoulders, while women are provided with an abaya and headscarf.

Yes, the mosque offers guided tours.

Photography is allowed inside the mosque as long as the worshippers are not disrupted.

No, the entry is free of cost.

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