Visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi: tickets, prices, opening hours

Visiting Abu Dhabi? Find out what you need to know to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi!

Located in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the largest mosque in this small country, and the ninth largest in the world. Named after the first president of the United Arab Emirates, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque can accommodate up to 40,000 worshippers! It lies to the east of the capital, 10km from Saint Joseph’s Cathedral and 130km from Dubai. The mosque is famous for its 82 white domes of varying sizes.

So if you’d like to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, check out our mini-guide!

History of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Mosquée Cheikh Zayed

Photo credit: Flickr – Gilles Messian

The project to build a large, emblematic mosque was born in the mind of the first President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed ben Sultan Al Nahyane. The project was built in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the largest and wealthiest of the United Arab Emirates’ seven member states. His wish was for this place of worship to become a national symbol, as well as imperishable proof for Islam of the country’s tolerance and openness to the world. In 1995, work began on the construction of the Mosque, which does not yet bear the name of its sponsor.

In 2004, the steel and concrete structure was completed, along with the main dome. It was also in November of that year that Sheikh Zayed ben Sultan al Nahyane passed away, before the project was completed. His son, Khalifa ben Zayed Al Nahyane, decided to continue the project and name the finished building after his father.

In February 2007, Prince Charles of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles, came to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, just a few months away from completion. On December 19, 2007, the Mosque will open its doors for the first major prayer on the occasion ofEid al-Adha!

It took 12 years to build and cost around 2 billion UAE dirhams, or around 400 million euros. It is the fruit of the labour of numerous international engineers and craftsmen, and above all of 2,500 workers, working in temperatures of over 40°C!

What to see and do at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Mosquée Cheikh

A visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is an opportunity to discover a fabulous monument that blends tradition and modernity. Although it was built in the traditional style of Islamic architecture, with its composition of columns (1,048 in all!) and arches topped by 82 dazzling white domes, it was built using traditional sculptural techniques and modern reproduction. It is thus the culmination of modern construction and art techniques. For example, the motifs adorning the mosque were created in Milan by an Italian graphic arts company!

Your visit will take in the mosque’s magnificent exterior decorations: the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is covered in fabulous white marble, the whitest Carrara marble in the world, quarried in the Apuan Alps at ! The Great Mosque is the largest man-made marble structure to date. As dusk approaches, the white marble takes on enchanting tawny hues: the perfect opportunity for superb photos. When night falls, the building is illuminated by numerous spotlights. They form a lunar pattern, based on the lunar cycle, which evolves on the white marble.

Finally, your visit continues inside, in the prayer hall and around the basins of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers: 10 meters in diameter, 15 meters high, weighing over 9 tons. Your walk will take you through this harmonious labyrinth of columns, on a magnificent Persian carpet, one of the largest in the world, designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi and produced by 1,200 Iranian weavers!

Reflecting pools surround the mosque. They enhance the beauty of the place tenfold, with their shifting colors of white and gold glinting in the bright sunlight. At night, they are replaced by a unique lighting system that also reflects the phases of the moon.

Book your ticket for the guided tour of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque

How to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Mosquée Cheikh Zayed

Photo credit: Flickr – Gilles Messian

To help you prepare for your visit, we have listed the most important information you need to know:

– This is a religious site. Visitors must therefore comply with certain rules and dress appropriately (no uncovered legs/shoulders, no see-through garments or clothes clinging to the body, head veils for women…). Veils for women can be supplied at the entrance to the site. For further information, please consult the Mosque’s official website).

Food and drink are not permitted.

Children are welcome.

Sanitary facilities are available on site.

– Guided tours last between 45 minutes and 1 hour.

– The site provides wheelchairs, which can be ordered from security staff.

– Cars are also available to transfer visitors between the parking lots and the tour starting point.

How do I get to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi?

  • By car

The best way to get to Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque is by car, if you’ve opted for car hire on arrival, or by cab. The mosque is located to the east of the city, at the following address: Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street – Abu Dhabi.

  • By bus

You can also use the city’s bus network and stop at the « Grand Mosque – Wahat al Karama » stop with bus 094.

  • From Dubai

You can also visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque from Dubai, which is less than an hour and a half’s drive away (allow half a day for the tour, which is in English, German or Italian). In addition to car and cab, you can also reach Abu Dhabi from Dubai by bus. These usually leave from Gubiba Station in Bur Dubai every 40 minutes for around 25 dirhams per journey. This is the cheapest option.

Opening hours & prices of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Great news! You can visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi free of charge: admission and tours are free of charge. However, on certain special occasions, you may have to pay a visit fee – which is quite rare.

SCHEDULES

Unlike other mosques in the Emirati capital, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is open to visitors every day, except Friday mornings, which are reserved for the faithful.

Here are the opening hours for visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque:

Saturday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (last entry at 9:30 p.m.)

Friday: 4:30 pm to 10 pm (last entry at 9:30 pm)

Good to know:

During the Holy Month of Ramadan, the mosque is open every day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (last entry at 1:30 p.m.), except on Fridays when it is closed. The mosque is closed on the first day of Eid El Fitr and Eid Al Adha.

If you’d like to know everything there is to know about the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, you can also enjoy a guided tour of the Mosque on other days of the week. The tour will be in English.

Tip: the best time to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is definitely before sunset. It’s a wonderful time to take photos. You can also see the mosque by day, at dusk and at night.