Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gimme shelter or I'm gonna fade away (Rolling Stones)

Jacky and I had an amazing day at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. What a magnificent feat of engineering and beauty. We needed this after a series of really frustrating driving maneuvers took us down either blind alleys or six lane super highways going in the opposite direction. We made it though and it was worth it.

Some stats for you: It's the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and the eighth largest mosque in the world. It is large enough to accommodate 40,000 worshippers. The main prayer hall (for men) can accommodate up to 9,000 worshippers. Two rooms next to the main prayer hall, with a 1,500-capacity each, are for the exclusive use of women.

There are four minarets on the four corners of the mosque which rise about 115 m (377 ft) in height. There are 57 domes covering the outside yard and the main building as well. The domes are decorated with white Bianco marble from Pietrasanta, Italy and the interior decoration is made of white marble from Laas, Italy. The courtyard is paved with floral marble designs and measures about 17,000 m2 (180,000 sq ft).

It has to be seen to be believed. Men and women have to dress appropriately, of course, so this means Jacky had to don an abaya and hijab to enter the mosque. It was worth it though cos I got some great pics. Enjoy!!

There is a kind of moat around the mosque to purify the airways. Makes for a very tranquil atmosphere.

Each of the marble columns has this flower tile mosaic. Very elaborate.

Everywhere around us were people taking photos. I volunteered to take some group photos of some Japanese tourists and then they wanted me (and then Jacky) in the photo too, so...

Jacky visited the ladies' bathroom and was amazed at the ornate decorations.

Below is the main prayer room for men. It has a huge chandelier as its centrepiece and the world's biggest piece of carpet. Pictured here is the wall wherein are inscribed the 99 names of Allah.

This was a very peaceful experience. I took this photo by the Sheikh's mausoleum where readers take it in turns to read from the Qur'an, twenty-four/seven! It is a very serene place.

Love and peace - Wozza

1 comment:

dawn marie giegerich said...

Bathrooms - so important to women. Almost bought a used book at the library sale - $2.00 for "Ornate Bathrooms Around the World." I think I'm going to go back and purchase the thing. Probably long gone.