Mosque Mouse

Island Mouse took a tour around the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

It’s amazing.  A quick trawl of Wikipedia tells me that it is as enormous as I thought it was – the size of 5 football pitches, with the largest carpet, the largest marble mosaic, almost the largest chandelier IN THE WORLD!! At one point there were 52,000 worshippers all in here at the same time.  Whoah.

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First we had to cover up.  Waving, however, was not obligatory.

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There is marble, decorated with marble, everywhere.  Our guide had us stand barefoot on both the white and darker pieces in the courtyard to feel the difference in temperature between them.  Science, man.

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The mosque references Islamic architecture from all over the world…

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And then there was the world’s 3rd largest chandelier, designed to represent an upside-down date palm.  Yes, I know – only the 3rd largest BUT it still weighs a hefty 12 tonnes.  We were assured that the cable holding it could take up to 3x that weight.  Phew.

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Ooh! And the carpet. The world’s largest; it took 1200 carpet-knotters 2 years to make and weighs a whopping 35 tonnes.  Once finished (inside the mosque – it was too large to “lay” conventionally) it was then shaved, leaving raised lines which run across the width of the whole hall.  Worshippers use these as a guide, to quickly form lines for prayer.

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Here’s our very knowledgable, very lovely guide showing us the wall with the names of Allah, holding the Quran and explaining the prayer clock…

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Here are some of the 1000 pillars.  Before you ask, yes, it’s real gold…

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