This is why Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was named the best landmark in the world
One of Abu Dhabi’s focal attractions, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest of its kind in the UAE and is now apparently the top attraction in the entire country, according to TripAdvisor.
As part of TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice Awards, the mosque has been situated comfortably as the third best attraction in the entire world out of more than 750 other landmarks in almost 70 countries.
TripAdvisor writes: "Grand is an understatement. The architecture, the white marble and the beautifully maintained green gardens are stunning."
With a capacity of 40,000, which is over double the capacity of the Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium, it is easily the largest mosque in the UAE.
The travel guide site described the mosque as "by far the youngest world landmark", adding that it "holds its own against more established icons".
It’s certainly a cultural and architectural behemoth, though the site has only existed since 2007, having started construction 11 years before that.
The mosque’s creation stands for a few things, it stands to emphasise the contributions and achievements of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Father of the UAE. It also stands to unify Islamic culture and cultures around the rest of the globe, acting as a place where worshippers and visitors alike can go.
Sheikh Zayed's vision for the Grand Mosque was to incorporate architectural styles from different Muslim civilisations and celebrate cultural diversity, explains the official website. The mosque’s architects were British, Italian and Emirati, and design inspiration was borrowed parts of Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, and Egypt among other Islamic countries.
The mosque took over 3,000 works to build, using materials such as marble, gold, crystal, ceramics and semi-precious stones.
The mosque is comprised of 82 domes, seven imported chandeliers, four Minaret towers and millions of crystals. The mosque also has what is considered the largest and heaviest carpet in the world in the main area, weighing 35 tonnes.
The entire mosque is illuminated at night, lights which get darker or brighter according to the phases of the moon.
Throughout the entire structure, you will find courtyards, floral designs, gold, mother-of-pearl and water mirrors.
It stands as one of the most grand and lavish creations in all of the UAE and a celebration of Islam and the late Sheikh Zayed.
Here’s a look at the other entrants on the TripAdvisor top 10:
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Italy
Mezquita Cathedral de Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, Hungary