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The white marble of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi sparkles in the sun. Decorated with flower motifs, gold leaf and gems, this is one of the most beautiful attractions in the country. At night, the mosque is romantically lit, evoking a feeling of the book One Thousand and One Nights.
Completed in 2007, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque was commissioned by Sheikh Zayid bin Sultan al Nuhayyan, the founder and first president of the United Arab Emirates. He is buried in the adjacent mausoleum. The mosque is open to everyone: the sheikh also wanted to give non-Muslims a place that would provide a pleasant introduction to Islam. Inside, visitors must be dressed in long sleeves and long trousers, and women are to wear a head scarf (available at the entrance). The rooms with their stunning domes and pillars are a feast for the eyes. Even the toilets are beautifully decorated.
Everything in Abu Dhabi is bigger and better, so it should come as no surprise that the construction of this 117-metre-high mosque has set several world records. Admire the largest chandelier in the world, adorned with copper, gold and millions of Swarovski crystals. Or stroll across the largest carpet ever made; the pieces were shipped over in separate sections. This impressive green carpet with flower motif will only reveal its smaller lines when you look straight down on it. The flower motifs are not only found in the carpet but throughout the entire building. All the walls and floors are adorned with mosaics in the most beautiful patterns. Each tile has been hand-cut and placed, alternating with glistening gems. A breathtaking sculpture that leaves visitors speechless.
Solidarity has always been an important theme throughout the construction of the mosque. It has been designed as a place where everybody feels welcome, regardless of their faith or origin. That is why the architecture reveals Moorish, Arabic and Mongolian influences, and the world famous rug was designed by an Iranian artist. The chandeliers are from Germany. Construction of the mosque cost more than 420 million euros. Even the location where the mosque stands has been raised so you can see the beaming white domes from a distance.