I’d been desperate to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque for as long as I can remember after seeing multiple gorgeous photos of this amazing building on Instagram and blogs. During my visit to Dubai this time we took a trip to Abu Dhabi to see this amazing place (and stay at the Yas Viceroy Hotel). Abu Dhabi is easy to reach from Dubai as it’s located only one hour and fifteen minutes away, you can even grab a taxi between the two cities without breaking the bank.
We visited the mosque on Saturday afternoon as we were getting ready to leave the city. We’d left our visit to as late as possible because we’d heard sunset was the best time to visit. As we arrived we got ourselves kitted up in the appropriate attire which is free to hire for both male and female guests and then headed up to the main building. Even from afar the building is stunning, the attention to detail is what caught my eye. The shapes and the contrasting blue sky against the white mosque were just two stand out details.
As you head to the main mosque building you are asked to remove your shoes and females to pull the hood over their head. You then enter between the two pools of water where the key hole shape wall frames the roof opposite perfectly. This entrance is also one of the only spots you can walk out onto the centre and snap some of those iconic shots. From here anti-clockwise is open for all visitors and the main path for guests of the mosque. Clockwise is for the female bathroom and prayer room, aside from the bathroom this area is only open for worshippers.
As you wander around the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque you will be distracted by the tiny details all over, from the gold covered pillars to the decorated ceilings, it took us a long time to get around because I just couldn’t stop taking photos.
The whole mosque has a similar decoration of curved arches and domed roofs which really stand out against the bright blue sky. What’s more, in the bright sunlight the domes and arches reflect in the glass like floor. As the sun dips down the colours get softer and the golden glow starts to take over.
Once you’ve reached the ‘top’ of the mosque, the path leads you inside to one of the main prayer rooms which is used for the religious services on a Friday. The floor is carpeted and the walls and ceiling are decorated in more fine decoration. As we stood in the prayer room it timed with call to prayer, a sound which continues to amaze me every time I hear it.
We arrived around 3pm which was perfect timing as we got to see the mosque against the bright blue sky but also in the glowing light of the setting sun. We didn’t stay until dark as we had a drive back to Dubai, however, I’ve seen from other photos that this time looks pretty cool too.
The mosque lived up to expectations and more, it really is an architectural wonder and somewhere I’d highly recommend visiting if you’re in the UAE.
It is an open place of worship which is important to consider when visiting as during important holidays and on Friday (their holy day) the mosque visiting times may vary. Typically the mosque is open 9am – 10pm Saturday – Thursday and 4.30pm – 10pm on Friday.