10 of the best: Activities for families in Abu Dhabi
2. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
One of the largest mosques in the world, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is breathtaking. The white marble mega-structure cost one and half billion pounds to build and boasts eighty-two domes, each clad in twenty-four karat gold. Yet, despite its excess, the mosque is surprisingly pretty and delicate-looking. The walls and pillars are decorated with exquisite flower designs, inlaid with twenty-eight shades of imported marble. The mosque boasts several record-breaking feats, which English-speaking guides will point out. The main prayer hall is carpeted with the world’s largest hand-woven rug, which measures over five thousand metres squared, and took one thousand two hundred knitters over two years to complete. Looming large above this impressive carpet is what is thought to be the biggest chandelier inside any mosque in the world. The monstrous structure is made of Swarovski crystals and is ten metres in diameter and fifteen metres tall.
Shoes must be removed before entering the mosque. Loose fitting clothing that covers legs and arms should be worn and women must cover their hair and wear an abaya, which are available to borrow. Entry to the mosque is free and free guided tours are available.