The Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

At the end of my 4 days of teaching at the GPP in Dubai, I had the opportunity to visit the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. What a fantastic structure to photograph!

As a westerner who had never been to the middle east, I thought Dubai was going to have all those cultural things one thinks of when thinking of the "Middle East". Dubai is as modern or more so than New York or Chicago. Dubai has fancy buildings, large highways, and modern transit. Certainly not what I had envisioned prior to my arrival, I was hoping for more of a cultural experience.

After the 4 days of teaching at the GPP, I had the opportunity to visit the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is a nearby emirate close to Dubai, it took about an hour and a half to drive there. Abu Dhabi is home to the third larges mosque in the world, the actual name of the mosque is the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque.

I had the opportunity to photograph the mosque in late afternoon light all the way to sundown. I also had the opportunity to photograph inside mosque after sundown. Here are some images taken on the outside of the Mosque.

Before entering the Grand Mosque we entered a sort of foyer which was grand in it's own right. This foyer had a beautiful chandelier hanging in the center of the room and marble flowers and vines on the walls. Just as I entered the foyer, a loud speaker crackled to life with the chanting of prayer. I'm including a short video here which shows that foyer and also captures the prayer being broadcast over the PA system. When I heard the prayer being broadcast, I knew I was in the middle east, I just love this.

Below are a few view of the interior of the Mosque, absolutely stunning!

Here are a few facts about this wonderful place. The mosque has 4 minarets, 7 chandeliers (cost 30 million AED), 1048 columns in the courtyard, The main dome is the largest in the world, 82 domes in the mosque, The Iranian carpet in the main hall was woven by about 1200 Iranian women, is 5000 sq meters and is the largest hand woven carpet in the world, made out of 35 tons of wool and cotton! Total cost about 2.1 billion AED.