They never really tell you how much it all cost to build this incredible Mosque but they DO tell you some facts which are:
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has seven imported chandeliers from Germany that incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals. The largest chandelier is the second largest known chandelier inside a mosque, the third largest in the world and has a 33 ft diameter and a 49 ft height.
The carpet in the main prayer hall is considered to be the world’s largest carpet made by Iran’s Carpet Company and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi. This carpet measures 60,570 sq ft, and was made by around 1,200-1,300 carpet knotters. The weight of this carpet is 35 ton and is predominantly made from wool (originating from New Zealand and Iran). There are 2,268,000,000 knots within the carpet and it took approximately two years to complete.
The 96 columns in the main prayer hall are clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl, one of the few places where you will see this craftsmanship.
The muaadhin (prayer call) comes from the Mosques to remind all to pray 5 times a day. When the first prayer of the day(fajr) is called at the break of dawn the muaadhin also adds a small phrase that says “prayer is better than sleeping”. This is a reminder to the faithful that it’s time to get up and pray.
You will also notice that in all shopping malls and commercial buildings in Abu Dhabi, there are prayer rooms.
We planned a trip to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The regulations for clothing are quite stringent(see sign!) so we were given abayas for the body and sheilas for the head to wear at the Mosque. These clothes address the Muslim need for modesty but they are also influenced by the scorching climate. The black cloth protects their skin from sunburn and because it is black,it can be thin fabric without being revealing.They were surprisingly cool to wear in the hot sun.
The Grand Mosque is one the world’s largest mosques, with a capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world’s largest hand knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers –10 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing twelve tons. The mosque’s first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed, who is buried at the site. It was finished in 2007.
There were more than 38 contractors and thousands of workers involved with completing various elements of the structure and decoration. Materials were also sourced from many countries including Greece, Italy, Germany, China, Austria, India and New Zealand to name a few.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is well known for its diverse Islamic architecture and pure white colour. White marble clads the external walls and columns and features relief carving of verses from Holy Quran and Islamic ornamentation.