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Have you even visited Abu Dhabi if you don’t make your way down to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque? If you haven’t stared at the magnificent columns, watched your reflection in the highly polished marble and generally wondered how did this get to be here? Even if you’re not a religious person or do not follow the Muslim faith you can still visit the mosque, and I highly recommend that you do so when you are in Abu Dhabi. Even if you only have a short stop over in Abu Dhabi it’s well worth the taxi fare out to still the mosque. 

A Simple Guide To Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

The mosque, over all, has been set up for tourists. Both those of the Muslim faith and those like me who are merely curious to see what a Grand Mosque looks like. There is not a lot for you to worry about as a visitor. The Mosque Manners are fairly basic and there’s not a whole lot that you can do wrong. And in all honesty you would need to be an a-grade ass hat, deliberately trying to get yourself in trouble or trying to insult an entire faith to get yourself kicked out of the mosque. Now the mosque is an incredibly sacred place for those of the Muslim faith, so don’t be a twat. Follow the rules and enjoy the spell bounding surroundings of this magnificent building.

What to Wear When Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Remembering that this has been set up as a tourist friendly destination you don’t need to be overly stressed about what you are wearing. Tight jeans on all people of any gender is not considered appropriate. As you can see in the image taken from the front of the mosque. The good thing though is that there are free, very clean abaya rental for both men and women to wear. I was straight off the plane from my adventures at the Kumbh Mela so was in my amazingly basic fit wear outfit. 
Once you have your ticket, and we’ll talk about that below, you will walk past the Male/Female dressing rooms. All you need to do is walk in, grab the abaya of choice and pop it over your regular clothing. Seriously it’s that simple. Returning your abaya is exactly the same. There are big return bins in the dressing room. If you get confused there are staff in the dressing rooms ensuring that the garments are hanging, clean and returned garments are taken care of.

There is no entry fee but you will need a ticket. 

Ok so that does sound odd but it’s true. You don’t need to pay for entry but you will need a ticket. You can prearrange an entry ticket on the official Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque website. Don’t believe anyone that says you need to pay. In hindsight I wish I had known about the prearranged ticket system as it would have saved me some time waiting in really long lines. If you do see a big tour group going through don’t stress, as there are separate areas for the big tours to go through. The ticket getting is not a big issue but the time that it can take is something to be aware of. 

What time is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque open?

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open every day. Saturday to Thursday 09:00 am to 10:00 pm, with the last entry allowed in at 09>30 pm.  Please note that the mosque is closed to visitors (and open for worship) on Friday mornings, and reopens after 4:30 p.m. for visitors
Tip – Opening hours change during the Holy Month of Ramadan. It’s best to check the official website to see what the opening hours are. 

The One Thing You Can’t Miss -Taking a Cultural Tour of the Grand Mosque

This was a highlight of my time in Abu Dhabi. That whole 10 hours I spent in the country. Taking a free cultural tour of the grand mosque. It’s a great way to see areas that you can’t access without either being there during prayer time or sneaking in without the guards knowing.  Which again I wouldn’t suggest breaking any laws whilst in Abu Dhabi.
The tour goes for around 45-60 mins dependent on the crowds and the walking pace of the people you are with. The cultural tour is also a fabulous introduction to the Islamic faith, giving you a very high level over view of the beliefs and traditions around attending mosque.
The tours go at rather odd hours. According to the website the walk in tours begin at the below times.
Sunday -Thursday 10am, 11am and 5pm.
Friday 5pm and 7pm
Saturday 10am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 7pm.

The Easiest Way to Get to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Taxi. Without a doubt take a taxi. Whether you are coming from the airport or the city itself. Abu Dhabi does have a fairly impressive bus system, so you could in theory catch a bus towards the mosque. There is a bus stop approximately 10min walk from the mosque. Abu Dhabi does get rather hot during the warmer months, so I’d be hesitant to walk. Also Uber is a thing in Abu Dhabi, so you could always Uber to the mosque.
The taxis are super clean, reliable and do take international cards. So you don’t need to worry about getting cash out of the ATM at the airport. 

Fun Facts About the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the UAE and can hold up to 40,000 worshippers. Yes you did read that correctly forty thousand! 
The mosque was commissioned by, and named after, the first president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who passed away before the mosque’s completion. The mausoleum of the late Sheikh Zayed is located beside the mosque on the north side.
The design of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque was inspired by Persian, Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture and took more than 3,000 workers from 38 construction companies to build. When you see the spell binding design work in the mosque you’ll understand why it took so long. 

Final thoughts on visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

I’m really glad that I did get to visit and that I took that time to experience the cultural tour. I was spell bound at the intricate artwork, from the walls to the ceilings and even the water tap. It was well worth the rather pricey taxi ride from the airport. I do highly rate this as a must do experience. Even if you only have 4-5hours in Abu Dhabi. Get out of the airport, get into the sun and see this wonder. 


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  1. Can’t wait to visit in a few months! Thanks for those tips, I pinned this post so I can go back when I start planning my trip 🙂

  2. Wow we need to go here ASAP. This mosque looks straight out of a fairytale! And I bet it’s even more beautiful in person.


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