The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Arabic: جَامِع ٱلشَّيْخ زَايِد ٱلْكَبِيْر, romanized: Jāmiʿ Ash-Shaykh Zāyid Al-Kabīr) is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.
The largest mosque in the country, it is the vital place of worship for daily prayers.
During Eid, it was visited by more than 41,000 people.
History of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Grand Mosque was constructed between 1996 and 2007.
The building complex measures approximately 290 by 420 m (950 by 1,380 ft), covering an area of more than 12 hectares (30 acres), excluding exterior landscaping and vehicle parking.
The main axis of the building is rotated about 11° south of true west, aligning it in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The project was launched by the late president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted to establish a structure that would unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with historical and modern values of architecture and art.
In 2004, Sheikh Zayed died and was buried in the courtyard of the mosque.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center (SZGMC) offices are located in the west minarets.
SZGMC manages the day-to-day operations and serves as a learning and discovery center through its educational, cultural activities, and visitor programs.
The library, located in the northeast minaret, serves the community with classic books and publications addressing various Islamic subjects: sciences, civilization, calligraphy, the arts, and coins, including some rare publications.
The collection comprises material in various languages, including Arabic, English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Korean.
For two years running, it was voted the world’s second favorite landmark by TripAdvisor.
Design and construction of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Persian and Mughal have inspired the Sheik Zayed Mosque’s design, the Alexandrian Mosque of Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi Mosque in Egypt, and the Indo-Islamic mosque architecture, particularly the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan being direct influences.
The Badshahi Mosque inspired the dome layout and floorplan of the mosque.
Its archways are quintessentially Moorish, and its minarets classically Arab.
In a joint-venture between Italian contractors Impregilo and Rizzani de Eccher, more than 3,000 workers and 38 sub-contracting companies were conscripted in its construction.
The mosque was completed under a second contract by a Joint Venture between ACC and Six Construct (part of Belgian company BESIX Group) between 2004 and 2007.
Natural materials were chosen for much of their design and construction due to their long-lasting qualities, including marble stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals, and ceramics.
Artisans and materials came from many countries, including India, Italy, Germany, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, North Macedonia, and the UAE.
Dimensions and statistics of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The mosque is large enough to accommodate over 40,000 worshippers, while the main prayer hall can hold over 7,000. There are two smaller prayer halls, with a capacity of 1,500 each, one of which is the women’s prayer hall.
There are four minarets on the four corners of the courtyard, which rise about 107 m (351 ft) in height.
With its floral design, the courtyard measures about 17,000 m2 (180,000 sq ft) and is considered to be the largest example of a marble mosaic in the world.