Although a more calm city than Dubai, there is still a lot to see in the UAE’s capital. The launch of the Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island with events such as the recent Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has begun to shift more focus onto the city. The entire area is actually made up of islands, from mangrove reserves to wildlife sanctuaries, there is a lot to see and do, if Arabic culture is what you’re looking for. What I don’t know, however, is why there hasn’t been more emphasis placed on visiting the Abu Dhabi mosque – I could say hands down that it’s one of the most beautiful structures the UAE has to offer.
We’ve been really lucky in the UAE this year with a lot of public holidays falling the day before or day after the weekend, giving us wonderful long weekends to enjoy. Thursday 15th November was Islamic New Year this year, and a public holiday for us, so the opportunity was taken to have a day trip in Abu Dhabi.
It is rare to be allowed to enter a mosque, particularly in an Arab country if you’re a non-muslim, so we jumped at the opportunity – and it was amazing! In true local fashion the inside of the mosque was very extravagant, covered in pearls, gold and intricate designs. The central chandelier, weighing 12 tonnes and adorned with Swarovski crystals, is the biggest chandelier in the world (true Abu Dhabi style!). This was hung in the centre of the main prayer room, which has a capacity of 7,000 people and is covered in the world’s largest (again!) Persian carpet, which took almost two years to weave. It must be said though, whether the world’s biggest chandelier or the largest Persian carpet, the most impressive part of the mosque was the building on the whole – it was just magnificent.
Three words that really made it stand out: colour, symmetry and size.
The white colour of the building made it almost ethereal and heavenly. It conveyed a feeling of tranquility, and seemed like the perfect place for worshippers to come and find a peaceful place to pray. The symmetry of the building just made complete sense aesthetically. Similar to that of the Taj Mahal, it didnt disturb the senses, in fact, it calmed you. And finally, the sheer size just solidified its prominence on the Abu Dhabi skyline, as seen in the final photograph.
We were fortunate enough to visit the mosque on an evening with a stunning sky and sunset, making it that much more breathtaking. Hope you enjoy the pictures and get an idea of just how amazing it really was!
PS: Check out the Arab version of the person crossing the road sign! Ha! (Picture No. 14)