With temperatures easily reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113° Fahrenheit), the summertime is not the best period for a citytrip to Abu Dhabi. But once September has passed, the capital of the United Arab Emirates suddenly becomes very attractive. One of the absolute highlights of the city is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, completed in 2007 after more than ten years of construction and billions of dirhams in construction cost. The result is absolutely fabulous, like a modern day Taj Mahal.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one the world’s largest mosques, with a capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers. The complex – finished in 2007 – 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 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing twelve tonnes. But let’s not bother you with facts and figures. You just want pictures, don’t you? Alright, alright. Just let me tell you then that Abu Dhabi is very much worth your time. If you ever get the chance to do a stopover on your Etihad travel, don’t hesitate! And head to the Mosque immediately!
Photography tips: visit the mosque in the early morning or in the late afternoon (like I did). If you go for the second option, just wait for sundown and enjoy the mosque in a completely different setting. Also, don’t forget to visit the toilets, which are the most beautiful toilets you’ll have ever seen. Also, female travelers can rent (obligatory) abaya’s (long robes) at the entrance.