Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi
Muslim architecture has always been famous for its mellow colours and the beautiful use of the elements of nature. For centuries many famous Muslim architects have given the world striking mosques, which still are epic masterpieces. The large domes, the flower patterns and the coloured tiles are the mere aspects of some of the designs that can be witnessed in the structure of these holy places.
This article is about a beautiful Muslim architectural specimen known as the Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque located in Abu Dhabi. It is actually thought of as the main site for worship in the country. The mosque was designed by the renowned architect Yusuf Abdelky.
The foundation of the mosque was actually laid by the late president of United Arab Emirates known as Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He wanted to create a structure that united the diverse culture of the Islamic world with modern and historical values of art and architecture.
“Achieving second place, two years in a row, as one of most significant architectural monuments in the world, culminates the tremendous efforts and exceptional services the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque offers to visitors from all walks of life,” said Ahmed Al Za’abi, deputy minister for presidential affairs and chairman of the board of trustees of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
The construction of the mosque began in 1996 and it was finally completed in 2007. The Grand mosque is the largest mosque in the entire United Arab Emirates. The structure complex measures approximately 960ft by 1380ft, it covers an area of more than 30 acres, exclusive of vehicle parking and exterior landscape.
The construction and design of the mosque unites the world, using materials and artists from many countries including Germany, Italy, India, Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, China, Iran, United Kingdom, UAE and the Republic of Macedonia etc. The site was constructed by more than thirty eight companies and three thousand workers. The design mostly used natural materials, because of their durable quality which included crystals, ceramics, gold, marble stone and semi-precious stones.
The total design of the grand mosque has been inspired by Mughal, Alexandrian and Persian Mosques. The floor plan and the dome layout of the mosque were completely inspired by the Badshai Mosque in Pakistan. Its minarets are quintessentially Arab and the Minarets classically Moorish.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has many unique and special elements: The carpet present in the chief prayer hall is judged to be the world’s biggest carpet made by Iran’s Carpet Company and fashioned by the famous Iranian artiste Ali Khaliqi. This carpet quantities 60,570 sq. ft., and was completed by around twelve thousand to thirteen thousand carpet knotters. Coloured with twenty five natural shades, the green shade is basically predominant as it was the beloved shade of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Present in the carpet are horizontal lines which are a little raised over the main carpet-height. These are for the worshipper’s orientation. The outcome of the special knotting-method is that the lines are not observable from a distance, but only to the worshippers. The heaviness of this carpet is 35 ton and is primarily made from wool (imported from Iran and New Zealand). There are about a billion knots in the carpet and it took about 2 years to finish.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has 7 traded in chandeliers from a well-known company in Munich, Germany that combines billions of Swarovski crystals. The chief chandelier is the second largest acknowledged chandelier indoor a mosque, the third biggest in the world and has a 33ft diameter and 49ft in height.
The pools along the galleries reflect the mosque’s outstanding columns, which become even more beautiful at night. The exclusive lighting system was planned by lighting draftsmen Speirs and Major Associates to mirror the segments of the moon. Lovely bluish gray clouds are projected in lights onto the exterior walls and get darker and brighter according to the segments of the moon.
The ninety six columns in the chief prayer hall are dressed with inlaid of mother pearl and marble, one of the few places where you will see this workmanship.
The 99 names that are attributes or qualities of Allah are presented on the Qibla wall in old-style Kufic calligraphy, proposed by the well-known United Arab Emirates calligrapher, Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi. The Qibla wall also highlights delicate fibre optic lighting, which is unified as fragment of the organic design.
In total, 3 calligraphy styles, Naskhi, Kufic and Thuluth, are utilized all over the mosque and were prepared by Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed Allam of Jordan and Farouk Haddad of Syria.
The mosque also has a separate area for women which can accommodate about fifteen hundred female worshippers. That area is very bright and spacious.The Grand Mosque is unrestricted for prayers all day long. For the non-Muslim visitors, the visiting time is from 9 AM to 10 PM daily except for the Friday mornings. The visit timings tend to change during the holy month of Ramadan. Many guided tours are prearranged by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA).
Visiting or praying in mosques has always been a magical and peaceful experience for me; the serenity they provide is incomparable. If you liked what you read do share it with your friends and do not forget to revisit because there is more where this came from.