Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu-Dhabi: Visitor Information

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Representing the magnificence of Islamic art and the Muslim religion, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a monument to the Emirates’ exceptional wealth.

Covering an area as large as five football fields, the monument covered with jewels and gold honors the visionary leader who united the Bedouin people’s humble lands into a country that became one of the richest in the world, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

With the aid of our comprehensive guide, take a virtual tour and explore the architectural features and history of the mosque. Read on for precise details on what to wear and how to behave within the attraction, as well as helpful hints on how to get there and what others who have visited this amazing masterpiece have to say about it.


The island where Abu Dhabi is located approximately 250 meters from the coast. From the three bridges that connect the city to the rest of the country, the main mosque of the United Arab Emirates is prominently shown at the capital’s entry point. Because of its strategic position, the mosque represents all UAE residents’ strong emotional connection with it.

The mosque occupies more than 22,000 square meters in total. At 107 meters tall, there are four towering minarets, 96 inside columns, over 1000 outside columns, and 82 domes. The main dome, the largest in the world, reaches a height of 87 meters. It’s worth mentioning that the mosque ranks as the third largest globally and the first in the UAE.

Two smaller prayer rooms with a combined capacity of 1,500 people each are available in addition to the main prayer hall, which can accommodate up to 7,000 worshipers. Due to its immense size, the mosque required over 100,000 tons of Greek and Macedonian marble.

With a total projected value of 2.5 billion AED, the work began in 1996 and took 12 years to complete.

Though visitors are only allowed to examine certain spots, people of all religions are welcome.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (the official name of Abu Dhabi’s architectural pearl) has been ranked twice as the second most popular attraction of all time among all tourist attractions worldwide by the well-known travel website TripAdvisor.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in the daytime


  • Toilets.
  • Changing rooms.
  • Medical Clinic.
  • Club Car Services.
  • Al Jami’ Library.
  • F&B outlet.
  • Souvenir shop.
  • Wheelchairs.
  • Free Parking areas.
  • Guided tours.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Facilities

History of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The idea of construction of a mosque was first floated in the late 1980s, but the concept and construction location were not approved until the mid-1990s. After five years of delays, the building’s main framework was ultimately finished in 2002. The project as a whole took five more years to complete.

Around the world contributed to the building, which took place on an unprecedented scale. China and Italy offered marble, Iran provided carpets, Austria and Germany produced chandeliers, India and Greece provided glass, and the USA provided engineers.

About 40 companies and over 3,000 workers took part in the project overall. This massive project resulted in an enormous, snow-white building. The mosque asserted its dominance as the country’s leading one, attracting even Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain to observe its splendor.

The grand opening took place on December 20, 2007, but it’s worth noting that the nation’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, was buried on the grounds next to the mosque earlier, in November 2004. In addition to being the visionary behind the current federation, he was also the driving force behind a booming economy and a social program that offers its residents unmatched care. At the sheikh’s grave, continuous prayer is performed continuously throughout the day as a thank you for his efforts. To further commemorate one of the republic’s founding fathers, the built shrine itself was dedicated in his honor.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre was founded at this time to manage day-to-day operations, educational programs, and visitor activities. The mosque now doubles as a popular tourist destination and an epicenter for Muslim education in addition to being a place of prayer.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque


The mosque’s construction followed the Mamluk, Ottoman, and Fatimid architectural traditions. By reflecting different colors onto the mosque’s facade according to the location and shade of the moon, its creative lighting system mimics the phases of the moon. Using light, lovely bluish-gray clouds are projected onto the exterior walls; their brightness or blackness varies according to the lunar phase at the time. The mosque’s interior design skillfully combines modern, cutting-edge architecture with traditional Middle Eastern geometric patterns and arched doorways.

It was the intention behind the design and building of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to “unite the world.” This masterpiece of architecture was constructed using materials from various countries, including Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt, Turkey, India, Italy, and Egypt. Strength and durability were the main factors taken into account while using natural materials for building and decoration. Among the architectural materials used were marble, gold, crystals, semi-precious stones, gypsum, and ceramics.

All of the little details have been carefully created to complement the mosque’s overall concept. Moreover, the designers of the project included several innovative components of Islamic art, such as:

  • Unprecedented creative shapes were made possible by the decorations’ use of multicolored marble. In Islamic architecture, a new way of ornamenting columns — in which the crowns are placed at the base instead of the top — represents a breakthrough.
  • The natural color palette of the walls, columns, and carpet harmoniously intertwines, transforming the entire mosque into a captivating artistic masterpiece and a symphony of colors.
  • Islamic symmetrical patterns and rapports are showcased through the numerous repetitions of motifs using contemporary artistic glass processing techniques such as mosaic, carving, and sandblasting.

The mosque’s facade has a traditional Oriental flair, with a plethora of domes, minarets, and arches that awe onlookers with their enormous size and immaculate white walls. There’s a fantastic display inside, despite the outside being simple and traditional. Within the mosque, snow-white and gold stucco artwork abound on the walls, the arcade’s arches, and the columns. The ceiling and the walls of the halls are covered in elaborate Oriental-style stucco work that is uniquely decorated with floral themes contained within the mosque.

What is Inside

This magnificent mosque is one of the most important places in the country to do traditional prayer. Four different prayer rooms make up the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: an ablution hall, the main prayer hall, a prayer hall exclusively for women, and a family prayer hall with an open courtyard in the middle. Every prayer hall is intended to be a large, open space that is smoothly connected with other parts of the building and has no walls or columns.

In addition to being a place of religious prayer and devotion, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque now hosts a variety of cultural and educational activities and provides guests with special educational opportunities.

So, you can take part in their cultural tours, walking inside or riding the golf kart. Those who are familiar with their own rhythm can utilize the gadget for a multimedia excursion, offered to guests in 14 different languages, complete with visuals for the hearing impaired. It introduces visitors to the mosque’s powerful message of acceptance and harmonious cohabitation through a captivating and interactive narrative enhanced by immersive audio effects, interactive tasks, and breathtaking visuals, offering a more profound insight into its elaborate Islamic design. The excursion is priced at 20 AED per device.

Located in the northeastern minaret of the mosque, the library has a vast collection of publications and rare books that span a wide range of Islamic topics, including science, calligraphy, art, and numismatics. Manuscripts from antiquity make up the library’s unique collection.

There are also several unique, quite impressive features in the lavish decor. Among the most famous is the carpet in the main prayer hall, an exquisite work of art made by more than a thousand artisans. This 2,268,000,000-knot carpet took around two years to weave, using 35 tons of wool from New Zealand and Iran and 12 tons of cotton.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque Carpet

The grand chandeliers, adorned with gold leaf and Swarovski crystals, are particularly breathtaking; the largest among them, located in the central hall, is considered the second largest on the planet. Weighing 12,000 kg, it stands at a height of 15 m with a radius of 5 m.


The main prayer hall’s 96 columns are very skilled and unusual to see, with marble, mother-of-pearl inlay, and plaster stucco embellishments. Master scribe Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi of the United Arab Emirates created the Qibla Wall, which displays the 99 names of God (Allah) in classic Kufic calligraphy that combines the Naschi, Thuluth, and Kufik calligraphic traditions.

The eleven-step Menbar, located to the right of the SZGM Menbar, provides a prominent platform for the imam to address the numerous worshippers at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Crafted from carved cedar wood inlaid with mother of pearl, glass mosaic, and white gold, it showcases floral and shell motifs, culminating in a crescent-shaped finial and a small dome-shaped “roof” at the top of the steps.

Tickets/Entrance Fee

There is no charge to enter. Visitors are required to obtain an e-pass in advance by filling up the online form on their website to enter the mosque. Or you can register on-site.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Registration on site

Free guided tours are also offered, providing information about the mosque’s cultural features. The scheduled times for the cultural tours are shown below.

Days Start of the tours
Morning Afternoon Evening
Monday to Sunday (2 Tours)
10:00 AM
11:00 AM
(4 Tours)
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
2:00 PM
3:00 PM
(5 Tours)
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
7:00 PM
8:00 PM
Friday (2 Tours)
10:00 AM
11:00 AM
No tours (5 Tours)
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
7:00 PM
8:00 PM

Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Free Guided Tours

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Timings

Regular visiting hours are 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Saturday through Thursday, with the final entrance at 9:30 PM. When it reopens on Fridays, it is open from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM, with the final entrance at 9:30 PM. On Fridays, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is accessible from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

The mosque is available for visits throughout the first twenty days of the Holy Month of Ramadan, Monday through Sunday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and from 09:30 PM to 1:00 AM. On Fridays, it is open from 03:00 PM to 6:00 PM and from 09:30 PM to 1:00 AM. The mosque is open Monday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and on Fridays from 03:00 PM to 6:00 PM for the next ten days.

The mosque is also open on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, from Saturday to Thursday, 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque Dress Code

Male guests must follow the dress code, which entails donning shirts and pants that fully enclose their arms and legs. It is noteworthy that visitors to the Grand Mosque will not be allowed entry if they are dressed in short sleeves or shorts.

When it comes to female guests, it is traditional for them to wear a scarf over their heads to completely hide their hair. Dressing appropriately for ladies consists of long shirts or skirts worn with long sleeves. Wearing attire that is too tight or exposing is forbidden.

In addition, guests are cautioned against dressing in apparel featuring images that can be seen as insulting or provoke unfavorable behavior, since this is inconsistent with the Grand Mosque’s atmosphere of reverence and respect.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Dress Code


Many tourists are afraid that they will be asked to leave the place. And sure, there are severe guidelines in this instance, as seen by the many remarks made by visitors to the mosque, not just about what constitutes appropriate attire for entry but also about appropriate behavior.

We have prepared the main ones for you:

  • You should take off your shoes before you enter the mosque’s prayer rooms, therefore it’s best to wear shoes that are easy to put on and take off.
  • It is prohibited to consume food, drinks, or smoke on mosque property.
  • Within the prayer hall, it is forbidden to touch the Quran or any other architectural element.
  • Reminding guests that smoking is not allowed.
  • Hugs and kisses, or other overt expressions of affection, are not appropriate.
  • Additionally, as it is not appropriate for the mosque’s atmosphere, it is crucial to abstain from putting up or displaying any significant symbols or emblems.
  • Parents should keep an eye on their young children’s conduct; frequently, parents whose kids are acting out, yelling, fleeing, or even just lying on the ground are asked to leave the attraction.


Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Dining Options

  • Make sure to bring sunglasses to protect your eyes from the intense brightness of the white surfaces.
  • It is better if you come in appropriate clothing, but if not, don’t worry — women can borrow abayas and men can borrow trousers for free and return them later.
  • You can also purchase cover-ups at the nearby Souq Al Jami Mall (from AED 45), so don’t let that deter you from visiting. Additionally, there are dining options available at the mall.
  • One of the most stunning views of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque can be seen at dusk. It is impossible to describe the way the white minarets glimmer against the deep blue sky and the gentle glow of the setting sun. You must see it with your own eyes!
  • It’s recommended to book your time slot online before arriving at the venue for a smoother experience. Guides are available, but it’s optional.
  • Weekends tend to be busier, so if you prefer a quieter experience, consider booking the 9 AM slot.
  • Be prepared for long walks and plan for a minimum of 1-2 hours to fully explore the mosque.
  • There is a free taxi available on-site to take you from the mosque to the exit.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Abaya Shop
You can buy abaya on-site for AED 45 and more


The exact location of one of the most renowned attractions in the UAE is Al Rawdah in Abu Dhabi.

How To Reach

Planning to make your way from Abu Dhabi or Dubai? Check out our tips for reaching the Sheikh Zayed Mosque:

  • By car: The mosque is easily accessible by car because it is located close to three bridges that link Abu Dhabi’s island and mainland areas. It’s crucial to remember that some of these roads and bridges have tolls. There are free parking spots in the complex’s southernmost area.
  • By bus: For those using public transportation, numerous bus routes stop at the bus station near the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, a mere 10-minute distance from the site. Hop on some of the bus routes such as №102, 111, 115, 130, 155, 160, 32, and 44. The most efficient way to reach the mosque is from the city’s main bus station, located at the intersection of Hazza bin Zayed the First St. and East Rd., using buses № 32, 44, and 54. Passengers should alight at the Zayed Mosque stop. If traveling from Dubai, it’s advisable to refer to a comprehensive guide to Dubai to Abu Dhabi buses before choosing between a taxi or bus as the transport option in Abu Dhabi. More information can be found in our guide.
  • By taxi: Alternatively, TRANSAD in Abu Dhabi offers pick-up services, which can be arranged via or by calling their toll-free hotline at 600535353. Passengers can wait at the designated taxi spot in the south parking lot.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Free Taxi


According to feedback, it is highly recommended for architecture lovers, and here are some pros and cons to consider:


  • Free admission.
  • Free guided tours.
  • Magnificent and elegant architecture.
  • Tranquil prayer halls.
  • Friendly and helpful staff.
  • Accessible to non-religious visitors.
  • Secure the environment with bag scanners and security checks.
  • A lot of parking spaces.


  • There is now an extensive walk required to reach the mosque because all entrances have been shuttered and entry is now only possible through an underground tunnel.

Attractions Nearby



Every room of the mosque is filled with the melodic azan of the muezzin’s voice, which dissolves into the air across the large courtyard, alerting Muslims to the impending prayer and tourists to a pause in their exploration of the majestic Mosque’s interior corridors…

Are you excited? We’re sure you will be drawn in more and more if you are a lover of history, architecture, and newly discovered locations that will become the jewels of the United Arab Emirates. The stunning interior design, and picturesque white walls, stunning with their grandeur, aesthetics, and architectural excesses reflect the pride of the nation.

About The Author

Website | + posts

I am Anastasia, the author of this blog and a passionate and experienced traveler who resides in the UAE.

I have visited every Emirate, every popular sight, and every hidden gem.

I m here to help you make your trip to the UAE unforgettable.

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