|Official image of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque|
Just this week the UAE newspapers reported that users of TripAdvisor ranked it as number 16 on the list of the top most talked about attractions in the world. It joins the ranks of such iconic global sites as Sydney Harbor, the Coliseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Central Park in New York City.
What makes it so special?
|Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan|
If you are not Muslim, the tours offer a first-rate opportunity to learn about the religion and its practices. For information on timings check the Grand Mosque's web site.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an important legacy of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God rest his soul) the founder of the United Arab Emirates, is one of the world’s most impressive examples of modern Islamic architecture. It took 11 years to complete. The sheer beauty and majesty of the structure takes your breath away from the first moment you catch a glimpse of it as you come off the highway.
|The entrance to the Mosque is a grand walkway. The crescent shaped finials |
on top of the domes are decorated with gold and glass mosaics.
|The reflective pool at the east entrance intensifies the |
beauty of this architectural masterpiece.
|At the gated entrance to the Mosque are fourteen green glass domes that are in the roof of the underground male and female ablution (cleansing) facilities. Above ground, they are an important part of the Islamic garden theme.|
|Before prayer Muslims are required to cleanse
themselves in an ablution process known as wudu. Here, my sister Paty sits at the women's ablution area which were built to resemble fountains. |
Colorful flowers and vines gracefully climb the marble columns.
|The golden capitals are representative of the date palm's pruned
stubs of old leaf bases which terminate in a crown of graceful pinnate leaves.|
Designed in the traditional geometrical Islamic floral design, our Emirati Cultural Guide explains the intricacies of the inlaid marble floor. This floral design appears throughout the Mosque.
|In the entrance foyer, Roger listens attentively to our Emirati Cultural Guide. Behind him you see the walls decorated with the traditional Islamic floral design. Here most of the decorative work was individually carved by hand.|
|The main prayer hall is a wide open space that accommodates 10,000 male worshipers who pray standing side by side along rows discretely indicated in the carpet design. The three main domes of the mosque rise above the hall.|
|The women's prayer hall can accommodate 1500 female worshipers.|
|The clock in the mail prayer hall tells the timings of the five times a day |
Muslims bow down to Allah to pray.
|In the wall behind the Minbar are the 99 names of Allah carved in white Italian marble. The calligraphy design, considered the highest from of Islamic art, was created by UAE calligrapher Mohmmed Mansi Al Tamimi.|