Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque

I live right next door to an architectural wonder -- the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.  It was opened about three years ago.  Finishing work is ongoing on the outside grounds (fence, entrance gates, landscaping), but the mosque and its courtyard are essentially complete.  On a previous post, I include photos of the mosque from afar as I was exploring a green strip around and under a major highway interchange near my apartment  --  I had not had the chance to visit the mosque for a tour because it is closed for public tours on Fridays, which is typically my only day off in Abu Dhabi.

The first Saturday that I was back in Abu Dhabi on 8 January, I did not have to be at work.  I took the day off.  I visited the mosque just before noon. Non-Muslims are usually not allowed inside mosques.  The Sheikh Zayed Mosque opens its doors to the public on certain hours from Saturday thru Thursday.  Tour guides, young volunteer Muslim scholars, offer insights about Islam religion as well as provide information about the mosque and its construction. The weather was perfect, with blue skies and comfortably cool temperature.  I took the tour first and then I explored on my own for a couple of hours after the tour in the early afternoon.  I came back later that evening to take nighttime pictures.

The mosque is definitely a great place to visit.  The mosque, including the covered walkway with anchored towering minaret at each corner and its courtyard within, is quite stunning.  True to its name, it is a grand place.  On the day of my visit the entire mosque was brilliantly white set against the blue sky.

I took almost 600 photos.  I am now having a tough time selecting which photos to include here and on my flickr page.  My flickr page photos can be accessed on the following site:  Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Jan 2011.  I will let the following photos speak of the mosque's magnificence.  Click on the photo to expand view.

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