If there’s one thing and one thing only you do in Abu Dhabi, make it a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
How beautiful are these buildings?!
We’d planned to arrive before sunset, as after a month in Abu Dhabi, I was itching to take some photos of this beautiful spot, bathed in the colours of the UAE sunset (there’s nothing quite like it!) but due to parking confusion and a series of one-way roads that were poorly sign posted, we arrived at the mosque later than planned. However, what started as disappointment soon turned to delight as we enjoyed the beauty of the mosque at dusk and then lit up and glowing in striking shades of blue and gold.
We arrived at the Grand Mosque at approximately 5.45pm and enjoyed exploring the grounds independently before we joined a tour at 7pm. The site had such a beautiful tranquility about it and it really was a pleasure just walking about, soaking it all in.
We cannot recommend the tour highly enough! Our guide was friendly, knowledgeable, passionate and approachable; he was happy to answer our questions and presented an interactive tour which added greatly to our experience. These tours are offered free of charge and explain how and why the Grand Mosque was build and gives an excellent introduction to the Muslim faith. The mosque itself was built partially in a bid to introduce people from all faiths and background to this religion and they do so in a warm and welcoming manner.
No expense was spared in the creation of this mosque, with building materials and decorative ornaments being brought in from all over the world. As Kiwis we had a proud wee moment when we were told the mother-of-pearl inlay was sourced in New Zealand!
As this is of course, a place of worship, there is a requirement to dress conservatively, but if you don’t have clothes on hand to cover up, you’re able to borrow them on site.
We’ve really appreciated the way so many Emirati’s have welcomed us to their homeland and the manner in which the Muslims we’ve met have been kind enough to share their beliefs with us.
If you’re looking to emerge yourself in the local culture and appreciate beauty such as this, then visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque should certainly top of your to-do list here in the UAE.