Discover the vibrant versatility of the UAE
9 February 2015 01:29 pm
By Shehara Rizly
The United Arab Emirates or UAE located at the Southeast end of the Arabian Peninsular on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the East and Saudi Arabia to the South, shares sea borders with Qatar, Iran and Pakistan. It stretches over 1448km and the total area is 83600km including islands. The United Arab Emirates is the constitutional federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Al Fujairah established on 2nd
The capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai share the two centers of commercial and cultural activities. Islam is the official religion of the UAE with Arabic as the official language but in most places English, Hindi, Malayalam and Urdu are commonly spoken.
This month we will give you a very short glimpse of just one important monument and its many features and in the following months the others will follow.
Abu Dhabi – cosmopolitan city
The capital of the United Arab Emirates has some of the most interesting monuments and man- made features such as the Yas Island, which has the largest amusement park in the world.
Flights operate from Colombo directly to Abu Dhabi or you can just drive up from Dubai. It is a unique destination where you can witness some of the most interesting architectural designs within close proximity.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
There are many attractions in Abu Dhabi and as the first one, this month, we feature the key monument of religious and cultural importance, the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque initiated by the late President of the United Arab Emirates HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan whose intention was to establish a structure which unites the cultural diversity of the Islamic world, the historical and modern values of architecture and art. It is the largest mosque in the UAE and eighth largest mosque in the world. It is stated that artisans and materials from many countries such as Italy, Germany, Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece and the United Arab Emirates had been utilized in the design and construction. Over 3000 workers and 38 renowned contracting companies had been part of this construction from 1996 to 2007. Natural materials such as marble, stone, gold, semi precious stones, crystals and ceramics had been chosen in order to preserve it for a long period of time. It was built by the Italian company Impregilo.
This magnificent monument has been inspired by Persian, Mughal, Moorish architecture and in particular the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore Pakistan and the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco are said to be the direct influences. The dome layout and floor plan of the mosque had been inspired by the Badshashi Mosque and the architecture mainly inspired by a fusion of Arab, Persian, Mughal and Moorish design architecture.
Many tourists visit this structure to witness the amazing and intricate designs, the beautiful carvings on the ceiling and walls and the amazing crystal chandeliers where you could see different colours from various different angles as you stand. In the evening when you drive up on a clear night the moon amidst the mosque looks absolutely beautiful almost as if it is part of the structure itself. It is the most picturesque sight you can witness.
There is special clothing available for the many number of tourists who come to visit this beautiful structure. The prayer rooms and areas to cleanse one’s self is also different and unique and have been segmented as gents and ladies. The carpeting and tiling is exquisite and the fact that every little minute detail has been given careful thought is another reason for its rich cultural and religious value. During Eid this key place of worship is visited by over 40,000 people as it becomes a key place of celebration for Eid as well as Friday prayers. The library located in the north/east minaret has many publications addressing a range of Islamic subjects such as Science, Civilization, Calligraphy, Arts and even coins and rare publications dating back over 200 years. The collection comprises material in a broad range of languages such as Arabic, English, French Italian, Spanish, German and Korean.
A special thank you to Mohamed Farzan and Kamila Farzan for providing the opportunity to visit this magnificent religious monument.