Off to Abu Dhabi

 

Even after being in Dubai for three months, I had never been to the capital of the UAE: Abu Dhabi – the last full day of Anna’s visit offered the perfect opportunity for a drive to another emirate!

The Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque

The vibe there is a bit more low key than here in Dubai, but frankly, it was a nice escape for the day. We left the hustle and bustle of Dubai quickly behind and were in Abu Dhabi within an hour and a half – an easy drive. Our first stop was the  Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and is the key place of worship for the country. Taking more than ten years (1996-2007) to construct, the mosque was commissioned by Baba Zayed himself. The Grand Mosque is the eighth largest in the world and is the length of five football fields! The architecture is unlike nothing I have ever seen before, and the building itself is so white it hurts to look at – make sure you don your sunglasses!

The Grand Mosque's design and construction "unites the world", using artists, architects, and materials from many countries including Italy, Germany, Morocco, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece and the UAE

The Grand Mosque’s design and construction “unites the world”, using artists, architects, and materials from many countries including Italy, Germany, Morocco, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece and the UAE

We had incredible weather that day!

We had incredible weather that day!

The mosque can hold up to 41,000 worshippers

The mosque can hold up to 41,000 worshippers

Just like when you visit St Paul’s Cathedral in Rome, one must dress respectfully when visiting this place of worship; Anna and I had to wear abayas to ensure our legs and arms, and finally, our hair was covered before entering the mosque.

Anna & I at the mosque

Anna & I at the mosque

The mosque rules

The mosque manners

The interior of the mosque was just as incredible as the exterior, if that’s possible. The Iranian carpet in the main hall is considered to be the largest in the world and took almost two years to complete. I loved the shade of green!

The Iranian carpet

The Iranian carpet

The chandeliers, while a bit over the top for my taste, were also a sight to behold: all were imported from Germany and contain millions of Swarovski crystals.

The dramatic vaulted arches, framing one of the massive chandeliers

The dramatic vaulted arches, framing one of the massive chandeliers

Back outside, there were some more opportunities to take in the architecture and tranquility of the mosque.

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The Emirates Palace Hotel was our next stop – this hotel was where the SATC ladies went in the second movie (don’t act like you haven’t seen it!) 😉 Again, another over the top building here in the UAE (the list is ever growing), but lovely all the same.

Not quite the apparel I would rock in the desert, but whatever

The only disappointment of the day was that I hadn’t been sooner! The Grand Mosque was one of unique and picturesque buildings I’ve ever laid eyes upon, and the slower atmosphere of the city (vs. Dubai) was so refreshing. Can’t wait to go back! Until next time…

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2 responses to “Off to Abu Dhabi

  1. Awesome, Love it!

  2. Pingback: Expat Chronicles: Dubai vs. Perth | Abby's Roads