Photo by Fritz Da Cat – Wikimedia

Top 8 Astonishing facts about the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi


The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is found in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.

This is the largest mosque in the country and it is used as a place of worship for daily prayers. It receives most of its visitors during Eid when about 41,000 people visit.

Defined by its white façade, massive size and modern Islamic architecture, this mosque is one of the most peaceful places you will visit in Abu Dhabi.

As an undeniably architectural marvel, The Sheikh Zayed mosque has several unique features in and around it.

Both Muslims and non-Muslims are welcome to visit this architectural wonder from Monday to Thursday every week.

 It is an icon that deserves to be on your Abu Dhabi bucket list. 

Let’s now look at the top 8 astonishing facts about the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi.

1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has the world’s biggest carpet

Photo by Fritz Da Cat – Wikimedia

The main prayer hall at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has the world’s biggest carpet. This carpet weighs 35 tons and covers 60,000 square feet.

It is made of wool and has 2.3 billion knots representing the majestic effort of the mosque.

An Iranian company was commissioned to make the carpet; the designer, Ali Khaliq, was also Iranian. They employed 1,300 skilled weavers to work on the carpet.

It took the skilled weavers 2 years to finish knotting the carpet.

2. More than 3000 workers from all over the world were part of the construction crew

Photo by travel junction – Wikimedia

While it took 1,300 workers to knit the carpet laid in the Grand Mosque, more than 3,000 workers did the construction work.

These workers were sourced from all over the world. About 38 sub-contracting companies were also commissioned to this work.

The United Arab Emirates government first contracted two major Italian contractors: Impregilo and Rizzani de Eccher in the first venture of the construction.

A second joint venture with two Belgian contractors saw the completion of the mosque in 2007.

In 2019, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was voted the third greatest landmark in the world.

3. Expensive and natural material was used in the construction of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Photo by Mostafa Meraji – Wikimedia

A lot was put into consideration during the planning and designing phase of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

The best material and design were given priority. These materials were said to have longevity and value.

They, therefore, sourced the best quality materials from all over the world. No marble was left unturned when checking on the best quality.

Gold, crystals, marble stones, ceramics and other precious stones have been used to construct and decorate this mosque in Abu Dhabi.

These materials were sourced from countries like Pakistan, Germany, India, Egypt, Morocco, United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, Malaysia, Iran, Turkey, UAE and the Republic of Macedonia.

One other feature that is a marvel in this mosque is the lighting. The seven imported chandeliers have millions of Swarovski crystals. They were imported from the company Faustig in Munich, Germany.

4. The courtyard of this mosque has the largest marble mosaic in the world

The stretch of the courtyard in the Grand Mosque is 1,80,000 Sq Ft. The marble floor of the courtyard has a unique floral design which is very captivating.

This courtyard can hold a full capacity of 41,000 worshippers while the main hall inside can hold 7,000 worshippers.

There are also smaller halls that can hold about 1,500 people. One of the halls is dedicated to female worshippers.

5. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has 82 domes

Photo by FritzDaCat – Wikimedia

This mosque has a total of 4 minarets that stand on the four corners of its courtyard.

Each minaret has an impressive height of 351 feet. They are the first features one can see from a distance before the entire mosque comes into view.

82 domes have seven varied sizes. The outer dome’s height is 279 feet, while the outer diameter of the dome is 106 feet.

6. The architecture of the Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque is mixed

This mosque bears a blend of different architectural styles borrowed from different ages and countries.

For example, the spires in the mosque have distinct geometric shapes. The spire square was inspired by architecture from Andalusia, Morocco and Mameluke.

The second octagon section is a replica of the 13th and 16th century Mameluke designs. Subsequently, the third section is cylindrical, a design component borrowed from the Ottoman era of the 14th and 20th centuries.

Other features in the mosque such as the crown that is covered with glass are from the 10th-century Fatimid construction.   

The identical architectural design of this mosque can be seen in the Hasan II Mosque in Morocco and the Badshahi Mosque in Pakistan.

Its floor plan has numerous elements of Persian architecture while the archways are Moorish and the mosque’s spires are Arabic.

It can then be said that the entire design of the Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque is the perfect blend of Moorish, Persian, Arab and Mughal architecture.

7. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has a unique lighting system

Photo by travel junction – Wikimedia

There are beautiful pools along the arcades that reflect the mosque’s columns. This is even more magical when they get illuminated at night.

Speirs and Major Associates are the lighting architects that designed it to emulate the different phases of the moon.

Beautiful bluish clouds are projected onto the external walls. These lights get brighter and darker according to the phase of the moon.

This is said to be one of the most significant features of the grand mosque.

The moon plays a significant role in Islam because of the use of a lunar Islamic calendar to determine the date of Ramadan.

Twenty-two light spires have been used to project light outside the mosque, following the 28-day cycle of the moon.   

The lighting is the highlight of the mosque’s interior as well as unique architectural features.

These lights were installed in ledges and behind carved wood without revealing the sources of light.

8. It is free to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Photo by travel junction – Wikimedia

The mosque is open and free to visit. There is no entry ticket required. Visiting times are from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Saturday through Thursday.

It remains closed to visitors on Friday mornings but remains open to worshippers.

During Ramadhan, visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The mosque remains closed to visitors on Fridays.

The welcoming open-door policy to the mosque encourages visitors from around the world, to not only see the mosque’s beauty but also gain a deeper understanding of Islam.

As the largest mosque in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque welcomes up to 55,000 worshippers and visitors every day.

It embodies Islam’s foremost message of peace and tolerance and welcome people of all religious backgrounds.