Take a look inside an Abu Dhabi gem—the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, home of intricate inlaid marble, massive chandeliers, gleaming domes, and much more.
A mosque of historic impact that blends architectural styles and embodies Islam’s message of tolerance and peace
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one the world’s largest mosques and a massive architectural work of art that intentionally blends different Islamic architectural schools. It features 82 domes, more than 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.
The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan built this mosque to convey historic consequence and to embody the Islamic message of peace, tolerance and diversity. He intended that the Grand Mosque be a living reference of modern Islamic architecture that links the past with the present and creates a place of Islamic science and learning that would reflect genuine Islamic values.
KEY ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS
Perhaps the most noticeable element of the mosque is the collection of 82 domes, the largest of which is located in the centre of the main prayer hall. The domes feature pure white marble cladding, onion shaped ‘crowns’, and crescent-shaped finials decorated with gold-glass mosaic.
The mosque’s minarets combine Mameluke, Ottoman and Fatimid styles in a manner that fuses diverse Islamic architectural styles into one expression of art and beauty.
The use of natural multi-coloured marble creates novel artistic outcomes, including decorated crowned columns where the crowns are not located on the top of the columns but at the bottom. This extraordinary technique is innovative to Islamic architecture.
The colours of the walls, columns and the carpet are harmonised in a manner that transforms the mosque into an artistic masterpiece and a symphony of colours and shades.
Another important feature is the artistic glass work. Mosaic, carved and sand-blasted glass displays traditional Islamic designs of symmetry and repetition.
The mosque has four minarets, each approximately 106 meters tall. Each minaret is comprised of three different geometric shapes. The first is a square that forms the minaret's base. Its architectural style reflects that of Moroccan, Andalusian and Mameluke styles.
The second section of the minaret has an octagonal shape, which is a design that goes back to the Mameluke era (13th to 16th centuries). The third section is cylindrical in shape, a design element from the Ottoman era (14th to 20th centuries). The crowning lantern covered with gold-glass mosaic goes back to the Fatimid era (10th to 12th centuries).
The main prayer hall houses the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. The intricate Islamic medallion design was made by third-generation carpet maker and artist Dr Ali Khaliqi.
The predominantly wool, single-piece carpet is 5,700 square meters and was hand-crafted by approximately 1,200 artisans. The total project took two years, including eight months for the design and 12 months for the knotting.
The mosque features seven crystal chandeliers by Faustig of Munich, Germany. The largest is 10 metres across, 15 metres tall and weighs 12 tonnes. There are two smaller versions of the same design, also located in the main prayer hall. These weight 8 tons each.
Four blue-coloured chandeliers of similar design and size are located in the foyer entrances surrounding the mosque. The largest weights about 2 tons and is located in the main foyer entrance.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, located in Abu Dhabi, UAE is considered to be the best mosque architecture in the world. The main architect behind the design of this beautiful mosque is Yousef Abdelky, who is a Syrian architect.
The main idea behind this mosque was to build a place, which combines all the diversity of the Islamic world as well as the modern and historical architectural values of Islam. This mosque spreads over the area of 30 acres. This area excludes the car parking area and beautiful landscaping around the mosque. A huge amount of 2 Million Dirhams, (545 million US Dollars) was spent on the construction of this mosque.
More than 3,000 workers from different countries around the world took part in its construction. 38 renowned construction companies took part in its making. The material used in building this beautiful mosque was collected from many countries. These countries include Pakistan, India, Egypt, Morocco, United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, Malaysia, Iran, Turkey, UAE and Republic of Macedonia.
Natural materials of high quality were picked for the construction of this mosque, keeping in view they would last for a long time. These materials include Gold, Crystals, Marble stones & semi precious stones. For this purpose, “Impergilo” an Italian company was picked. The architectural design of this mosque is greatly inspired by Alexandrian, Mughal and Persian Mosques. It also has the touch of Indo-Islamic culture, Badshahi Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan to be precise.
Talking about its special features, The carpet laid inside this grand mosque measures up to 60,570 Sq Ft. It is considered to be the largest made carpet, which was made by Iranian Company. This carpet is designed by Ali Khaliq, an Iranian artist. The weight of this carpet is 35 tons and it was knitted by almost 1300 workers.
Just for a moment, try to imagine the number of knots these workers knitted. A punching 2,268,000,000 knots were knitted, and it took 2 years to complete. Many different types of marbles were used at different places. Like Sivec was used, which was imported from Macedonia. This was used in the external cladding and also on minarets. Lass was imported from Italy, and placed on internal elevations. Makrana from India, for offices and annexes. Aquabiana & Biano from Italy, And Ming Green & East White were imported from China.
The courtyard of this mosque is supposed to be the largest marble mosaic in the world. The span of its courtyard is 1,80,000 Sq Ft. It also has a unique floral design which is very eye catching. The total capacity of worshipers this mosque can hold up to being 41,000. The main hall can handle 7,000 worshipers, while the 2 smaller halls having a capacity of 1,500 each. One of these halls is dedicated to women.
The total number of 4 minarets stands on the four corners of its courtyard. Each minaret has a staggering height of 351 feet. If you see this mosque for the first time from a distance, the first noticeable thing is its domes. The mosque has a total of 82 domes. They have seven different sizes.The outer dome height is 279 feet, while the outer DIA of the dome is 106 feet.
It is a must visit a mosque, and has a nostalgic feeling about it. All the above-mentioned features make this mosque “The Best Mosque Architecture in The World”.