Monday, May 21, 2012

The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi (Alas, I found out that my room at the Burj was the second most beautiful thing in the Emirates!)

“A journey, after all, neither begins in the instant we set out, nor ends when we have reached our door step once again. It starts much earlier and is really never over, because the film of memory continues running on inside of us long after we have come to a physical standstill. Indeed, there exists something like a contagion of travel, and the disease is essentially incurable.” 

 The day before yesterday we took a one and a half hour drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The heat was sweltering but it was well worth the trip since it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  Its size is incredible and able to hold 40,000 worshipers. It has the largest carpet in the world and is one of the largest mosques in the world (behind those in Mecca and Medina, of course.) I have never seen such a clean white color on the outside of the structure and such beautiful intricate pillars, tiles, mosaics and stain glass windows. It is a haven of purity and tranquility.

    Sheikh Zayed (the late ruler of the Emirates) began construction of the Grand Mosque in 2002 and it was finished in 2007 at a cost of almost US$600 million. All women must wear an hijab (head covering) and if their shoulders or legs are not covered, an abaya (long dress). Everyone must take their shoes off before entering the mosque. Enjoy the pictures!

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