The Land of Abu Dhabi: Discovering Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Part 1)

10865714_10152619856498657_2643490919891554005_oVisiting Abu Dhabi was part of the holiday vacation in United Arab Emirates. It’s a couple of hours away from Dubai which you can visit for a day trip. What can you see here? Well, it has the world’s largest hand-loomed carpet, a grandiose mosque or various cultural landmarks from the 21st century.

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Upon entering the well-known city, you’ll see the unique skyscrapers from the highway. Though not as many as those seen in Dubai, they still take your breath away. The most convenient way to explore the city is by renting a private car. You can also take the public transportation but if you’re coming from Dubai, we recommend the former.

10687513_10152619863678657_949444878112529426_o One of the highlights of The HodgePodge Lifestyle‘s trip was the grandiose Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is the final resting place of the first president of UAE, Sheikh Zayed and the mosque was named after him.

It is the largest mosque in the city that’s frequently visited by 40,000 worshipers. It is also one of the few which non-Muslims are allowed to visit.

Be prepared as there are plenty of tourists coming from around the world, especially during the weekend. The white colored mosque is hard to miss from afar as it’s the only one that stands out from the rest of the buildings in Abu Dhabi.
10922353_10152619868523657_3667108780763607790_o Upon entering, you’re required to don an abaya. a black cloak or dress normally worn in the Middle East. It’s very important to observe the right clothes to wear and pay respect to the religious structure. Visitors are also advised to wear long and loosely fitted clothes that end until the ankles for women and men.

The manicured lawns and the white facade of the religious structure will impress you. Taking of photos are allowed but remember to avoid having pictures taken with your arms around each other’s shoulders. We were warned to removed it from our cameras, though perhaps the main issue was more of doing it with men and women together. Also, be respectful and avoid taking pictures of worshipers inside Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.10917791_10152619867548657_7138599416088033281_oThey don’t charge an entrance fee for visitors. Tour guides are available for groups and they will show you around. We didn’t had one and we had the freedom to explore at our own pace. There are security guards and staff guiding tourists around since it’s quite a big tourist attraction so you won’t get lost.

There are exquisite three steel, gold, brass and crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of the main prayer hall. The largest is filled with Swarovski crystals and 24-carat gold that creates more grandeur to the already beautiful mosque.

10914765_10152619867098657_2356708363059671513_oNotice the carpet that you walk on. It’s world’s biggest loomed carpet which took 1,200 people to finish in two years! It has a medallion and elaborate arabesque designs which was hand knotted. Truly, it’s an intricately-made craftsmanship by the locals.10929244_10152619866468657_8759589638276634604_oThe utterly gorgeous 80 marble domes are simply divine and truly a masterpiece depicting a modern Islamic architecture. You’ll see the white Greek and Macedonian marbles used which are decorated with flower-shaped designs using semi-precious stones like red agate, amethyst, abalone, etc.

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The mosque is only one of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi where you’ll learn more about the culture and religion that are intrinsic to this place. There’s more to explore and discover in one of the famous cities in Middle East. Find out more about this beautiful city as we feature other destinations in a second article.

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