The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, or White Mosque, is a visiting card and architectural gem of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. Since 2008, it has been open to the public regardless of religion.This is one of the largest and most luxurious places of worship in the world. The White Mosque in Abu Dhabi impresses not only with its architectural features, but also with its interior decoration, where expensive materials and unique artistic solutions are used.
The construction of a large mosque in Abu Dhabi began in 1996, while the actual construction was preceded by several years of work on the project. He was chosen based on the results of an international competition.
The White Mosque got its name in honor of the deeply revered Sheikh Zayed . It was during his reign (1971-2004) that the United Arab Emirates became one of the richest countries in the world. Sheikh Zayed ibn Sultan Al Nahyan also made a great contribution to the development of culture, the construction of mosques, schools, hospitals.
Interesting fact! The idea of building a prayer building was formed back in the mid-80s of the 20th century, but the sheikh chose a place for it only 10 years later.
The construction and interior decoration of the grandiose architectural object was completed in 2007. The approximate estimated cost exceeds $ 500 million. About 3,000 workers and 38 contractors from different countries were involved in the work.
Architectural features of the White Mosque in Abu Dhabi
The Sheikh Mosque in Abu Dhabi is called the White Mosque because its facades are made of snow-white Macedonian marble. It is not just Sheikh Zayed’s favorite color, but also a symbol of purity and piety.
The architectural complex covers an area of 12 hectares and can accommodate 40 thousand people. The courtyard alone, designed for significant religious gatherings, can accommodate up to 31,000 worshipers.
Other architectural features of the Sheikh White Mosque in Abu Dhabi:
- the building is decorated with 82 domes, made in 7 different sizes;
- the height of the main dome, located above the men’s prayer hall, is 85 m, and the diameter is 32.8 m;
- along the perimeter there are 4 minarets with a height of 107 m, which consist of three geometric figures: a square – in the lower part, an octagon – in the middle, a cylinder – in the upper;
- structural support of the domes are 1096 columns, united in groups of 4 and inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones;
- the building has night illumination, which is focused on the phases of the moon and changes depending on it; illumination is provided by spotlights grouped on 22 special towers;
- the height of the main entrance door is 12.2 m, and the weight is 2.2 tons;
- the building effectively combines several oriental styles of architecture – Mamluk, Moroccan, Turkish.
Interesting fact! During the construction and decoration of the White Mosque in Abu Dhabi, 28 types of marble were used, including the most expensive ones.
The adjoining territory is decorated with artificial ponds, in the mirror-like surface of which the mosque looks especially beautiful and mysterious.
Interiors of the White Mosque
The main material for the interior decoration is the same marble. In all rooms it is decorated with inlays of jasper, agate, amethyst, lapis lazuli and other natural stones.
Many decorative elements are covered with gold leaf. To create luxurious interiors, they also used: ceramics, glass, fiber optic lighting, frit porcelain mosaics.
Interesting fact! The main motive of the decor is the interweaving of floral vines that adorn the floors, columns, window and doorways.
Belongs to the interiors of the White Mosque in Abu Dhabi and two world records entered in the Guinness Book of Records. One of them concerns the largest chandelier in the mosque. Its weight reaches almost 12 tons, and its diameter is 10 meters.
The second record is the world’s largest handmade carpet . Its area is 5627 sq. m! The carpet was woven over two years by 1,200 people, and the finished product weighs 47 tons. He was taken to the mosque in parts, which were connected on the spot without a single seam.
Visiting a mosque in Abu Dhabi
It is possible to visit the main mosque of Abu Dhabi all year round, as part of an excursion or individually. In the latter case, an electronic audio guide is available at the entrance, available in 11 languages.
Note! Only amateur photography is possible without special permits.
The mosque is open to visitors willing to respect the culture and religion of the Muslim country. That is why the entrance to the building is possible only without shoes, with a covered head and closed knees and shoulders. Overly open, defiant, transparent, tight-fitting clothing is unacceptable. Also, you can not disturb the peace of the worshipers and touch the elements of the interior.
The White Mosque in Abu Dhabi has long become more than just a building of prayer, a place of pilgrimage and a center for training Muslims. It has turned into a tourist center, where visitors are willingly introduced not only to the history of the construction of the building, its architectural features, but also to the history of Islam. A visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a great opportunity to get a little closer to the culture of another country.