Back when I lived in Dubai, one of the things that was hot on the list of things to do was to pop over to Abu Dhabi to visit the majestic Sheik Zayed Mosque.
I chose to make the pilgrimage on an occasion my mum was visiting, so we jumped in the car and set off on the 1.5-hour drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
Anyone who’s driven in the UAE will know that outside of the glitz and glamour of the cities themselves, there’s not a lot there apart from sand, so the drive itself is quite dull. Straight roads that you can bomb along as fast as you like, depending on how much abuse your wallet can take from the speeding fines you incur along the way
Every so often, there’s an amusing sign reminding you to watch out for camels.
After an hour and half of crazy drivers and speeding fines, you arrive at your destination, and my god, it is a spectacular sight.
As with everywhere in the UAE there is plenty of parking, and once that bit is sorted, you can head in to tour the Mosque.
As far as I remember there was no charge to get in, but there was a requirement for women to cover their heads, and clothing was provided for those that needed it. Once me mum and cousin were sorted with that, we headed inside.
It’s hard to explain how big the Mosque is, or how well kept and clean it is. It’s truly wonderful.
The architecture and white lines pop out at you in the ever-present clear blue skies
Once inside you join the hundreds of other people taking in the building. Even though busy, it was very quiet and respectful, and no real spots where you couldn’t get to or any hold-ups.
The internal decorations are very regal and overstated, as you’d expect for the region
The main prayer hall was massive! I have no idea how many people it could hold, but easily in the thousands.
Its centrepiece was this massive chandelier that hung down from one of the domes.
It was really quit something
The building had loads of decorative features. It must have taken years to build and complete with thousands of people tirelessly working to complete it. The craftmanship is world class.
Sheik Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi is a fantastic place to visit. It is peaceful and the tour allows you time to gather your thoughts and think about what life is really about.
I’m not religious, so I didn’t have an epiphany and walk out all spiritualized or anything like that, but as a place of worship for those that do believe, this is surely one of the grandest in the world and well worth a visit for people of any faith.