Saturday, May 8, 2010

Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

Last week I paid another visit to the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque in the capital of the UAE. It was the third time I visited this Architectural masterpiece at the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. I specifically wanted to shoot HDR (High Dynamic Range) images of the interior and the outside just after sunset. A cloudy sky, which is quite unique in the region, made for an excellent backdrop.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, also known as the Grand Mosque, is the largest in the UAE and the 8th largest in the world. It is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan AL Nahyan, the founder and the first President of the United Arab Emirates, who is also buried at the site.
The design has been inspired by Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture, the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore and the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca being direct influences. Its archways are Moorish and its minarets are classically Arab. The whole design of the building can be best described as a Fusion of Arab, Mughal and Moorish architecure.
The Mosque is large enough to accommodate 40000 people. The main prayer hall gives places to 9000 worshippers, while 2 women only rooms next to it, can accommodate 3000 people.
There are four minarets at the corners of the Mosque which rise to 115m (377ft). 57 Domes cover the 17000 sqm outside yard and the main buildings. These domes are decorated with white marble as is the interior decoration. 
As with a lot of the architecture in the UAE, it comes with a few World records:
    • The carpet laid out on the vast expanse is the World's largest carpet, designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi and made by Iran's Carpet Company.It measures 5627 sqm  and was made by about 1200 weavers and technicians. The weight of the carper is 47 metric tons and has an estimated knots.
    • The Mosque also holds the largest Chandelier (10m diameter and 15m height), made in Germany and plated with Gold and Copper. 
Anybody can visit the Mosque. For more info please refer to their website.
All BMP Architectural images of Abu Dhabi here

Happy shooting,
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