Tuesday 3 December 2013

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

 The grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is a truly stunning building. The bright white minarets and domes are both striking and imposing especially in contrast with the bright blue of the sky. This building begs to be photographed; I wanted to post more photos here but had to stop myself somewhere! and it seems every picture captures an impressive angle of the building. Is it possible to take a bad photo of it?

Inside, as a tourist, you shuffle along, take your photos and go. Perhaps, if you're like us, you turn up for the English language tour, only to find out this is not really a tour at all, and just means you arrive at the same time as tens of other people! 

As I wandered along, chatting with Samantha about Islam, Christianity and religion in general, I wondered what it's like to actually worship in this building. Of course the main, and most impressive room, is only for men. Presumably the women have a smaller, less impressively adorned room somewhere well hidden. But still this must be a fabulous place to pray, praise and surrender to god. Or maybe this place is almost too impressive? - it felt like a show home, not for regular people. It was difficult to visualise those worshipers arriving and concentrating on anything other than the architecture, plush carpets and remarkable chandeliers. But of course they do, particularly for Friday prayer and during Eid, and this is when the building is put to the use it was intended. When the gawping tourists are gone, and people are alone, in a house of worship with god.

One of the things I took away from Abu Dhabi, and more so Dubai, is the sense that a lot of things are built for the sake of being the biggest or most impressive in the world; the two line subway that's the longest in the world; far inferior to the Seoul subway, but in possiession of that all important 'world's longest' (actually Seoul is the world's most extensive, but they don't make a big thing about that!). The Grand Mosque didn't leave me feeling this way however. It's the biggest Mosque in the UAE, but visiting here, the size and the splendor felt less important than the beauty and the architecture. Emphasis on this as a place of worship rather than a structure to evoke the envy of the world. That's just my take, of course, but this was one of my favourite places in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Why when you ask other people to take your photo is it always rubbish?

This is definitely my favourite photo.

This is just after we were told off by the security guard.

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1 comment:

  1. Wonderful photos, especially your favourite through the window. The loveliest was my beautiful daughter!!!