Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE
This architectural work of art is one of the World's largest mosques, with a capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the World's largest hand knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the World's largest chandeliers - 10 meters in diameter, 15 meters in height and weighing 12 tones. The mosque's first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed, who is buried at the site.
Reflective pools surround the mosque, amplifying its beauty. The striking white and gold colors shining in the sun are transformed at night by a unique lightning system which reflects the phases of the moon.
Unlike other mosques in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open daily to visitors, except on Friday morning, which is for worshippers only. The opening hours are 9:00 to 22:00 (last entry at 21:30 pm) daily, and 16:30pm to 22:00 on Fridays. During the Holy Month of Ramadan, the mosque is open daily, except Friday, from 9:00 to 14:00 with last entry at 13:30.
Complimentary one hour guided tours run daily at 10:00, 11:00 and 17:00. Friday times are 17:00 and 19:00 and Saturday times are 10:00, 11:00, 14:00, 17:00 and 19:00.
It highly recommended that the visitor finishes sight-seeing or shopping for the day then take the 17:00 guided tour. Get to the mosque around 16:30 - a wonderful time to take photos - to wind down and chill out for 20 minutes in the lovely afternoon breeze before the tour.