Our adventure for this week was in Abu Dhabi, about 2 hours from Dubai. The population of the city itself is about one million. We spent most of the morning at the Grand Mosque. It was spectacular.
We took a tour and learned a great deal about Islam and the Mosque.
30,000 can worship in the outdoor courtyard. In the main hall inside 7,000 men can pray together, shoulder to shoulder. There are two smaller prayer halls (one for men and one for women) that can accommodate 1,500 each - for a grand total of 40,000 at one time.
There are over 80 domes and 1000 columns in the mosque. I am told it cost 2 billion
dirhams to build. Sheikh Zayed died before the complex was complete. He is buried
on the grounds. The mosque was built between 1996 and 2007.
The floors and columns are marble...the palm leaves are 24 carat gold and there is mother of pearl and precious stone inlays on the floors, walls and columns.
You can see the swamp coolers set up already for prayer times during Ramadan.
The carpets are rolled up and ready around the edges of the courtyard. Everything
was clean and shiny, inside and out.
A view from inside the Mosque back toward the courtyard.
This smaller domed building is where Sheikh Zahad is buried. Nice quiet private place.
Ivory inlay on a small wall display...and a huge one high above us on a wall.
There are three of these HUGE chandeliers from Germany. You cannot begin
to see the detail....there are millions, literally millions, of
Swarovski crystals in the gold. (Actually I thought the chandeliers were kind of gaudy...
Everything else was simple, stunning, and classy.)
Beautiful mosaics scattered around in the hallways....
This one was by the drinking fountain.
The carpet in the main hall is the largest carpet in the world. It was made in Iran by 1200 knotters working for two years! They cut it into 9 large pieces and took it to Abu Dhabi in two airplanes and installed it, putting it back together. It is so thick, they did not out padding under it.
One of our tour guides was in training and did hs best
to give us information AND entertain us.
This door opened to the pathway to the Sheikh's burial place.
This wall displays the name of Allah on the big circle with the 99 names/descriptors of Allah. The empty space reminds you that he is infinite and has more names...
This symbol lets you know that you are facing Mecca and the podium to the right is where the Imam stands when he talks at prayer time on Fridays. Not sure who the chair is for...at our small group we leave an empty chair for Jesus to join us.
Here is our other tour guide. She asked the trainee lots of questions like an interested sightseer, to help him with his tour.
The huge hall with the three chandeliers.
You really need to know when to pray....
And you must wash hands and feet before praying...
One of the very pretty chandeliers in the lobby by the doors...much more to my liking.
I can learn a lot from the Muslims - their worship and their commitment. Need to think
more about that in the days ahead.