Why the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is One of the Coolest Buildings Ever

October 2, 2013

Intricate, ornate and utterly breathtaking,the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was built to honor the first president of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan — and we think they nailed it. Take a look.

Getting There: Fly Etihad Airways direct from Washington, DC to Abu Dhabi.

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With four minarets and 82 domes, the mosque represents a variety of Islamic architectural styles. –Lori Barbely
White marble was chosen as a symbol of purity. –Lori Barbely
The mosque can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers in the internal prayer rooms. During holidays such as Ramadan, more than 30,000 can fit in the courtyard. –Lori Barbely
When visiting the mosque, modest attire must be respected. Guests can borrow abayas and dishdash free of charge if their attire does not meet the dress code.
The glasswork on the doors and windows features symmetrical, repetitive designs symbolic of Islamic culture. –Lori Barbely
In addition to traditional geometric Islamic patterns, the prayer halls feature intricate floral designs. –Lori Barbely
The mosque has seven chandeliers made of glass panels and Swarovski crystals. The largest, located in the main prayer hall, weighs about two tons and has an internal staircase that’s used for cleaning. –Lori Barbely
During the five daily prayer times, the mosque temporarily closes its internal prayer rooms to non-Muslim visitors. –Lori Barbely
Clad in white marble, the onion-shaped domes feature elongated windows to let natural light spill into the prayer halls. –Lori Barbely

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