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Shaikh Zayed Mosque to open in Ramadan

By Adel Arafah / 10 August 2007

ABU DHABI — Another star will be added to the galaxy of the world’s most beautiful mosques with the opening of Shaikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi during the holy month of Ramadan.

The largest mosque of the UAE and the white pearl of the Gulf, the mosque, which will fulfil the dream of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Father of the Nation, has been completed in 12 years at an estimated cost of Dh2.167 billion. It is considered one of the10 largest mosques in the world.

Shaikh Zayed Mosque

With a capacity to accommodate 40,000 worshippers, the mosque was built with the help of 38 renowned contracting companies. More than 3,000 workers took part in the construction work.

The mosque has four minarets on the four corners of the mosque with a height of about 107 metres each. The mosque consists of  57 domes covering the outside yards, main and side entrances. All the domes of the mosque are decorated with white marble and the interior decor was made of the white gypsum. The best types of the coloured floral marble and mosaics have been used to pave the courtyard of the mosque which is about 17,000 square metres.

“Late Shaikh Zayed had chosen the design and location of the mosque himself as he wanted it to be in the middle of Abu Dhabi,” Engineer Khowlah Sulaiman Al Sulaimani, director of the project, told Khaleej Times. She said finishing touches were now being given to the mosque. “The main prayer hall of the mosque is expected to be opened during the final days of the month of Ramadan.”

Khowlah said that the mosque’s architecture combined the best of the both worlds — traditional Islamic  designs and modern architectural techniques. She said that marble had been used to decorate the facade and the interior of the mosque.

Seven copper and gold-plated chandeliers from Germany will be fixed inside the mosque. The largest chandelier having 10-metre diametre and 15- metre height will be installed in the main dome. It is the biggest chandelier in the world.

“Another feature which will help the mosque to enter the Guinness Book of World Records its grand carpet measuring 5,627 square metres in area. It is the largest in the world.  Some 1,200 weavers,  20 technicians, and 30 workers took part in making this large hand-made masterpiece,” she added.

The carpet, which weighs 47 tonnes — 35 tonnes of wool, and 12 tonnes of cotton — is unique in its designs, colours, and the number of knots totals 2,268,000. The carpet is estimated to cost Dh 30 million. The carpet arrived on Wednesday from Iran and preparations are under way to fix it in the prayer hall.

An engineering  graduate of Al Ain Universality, Khowlah,  started her career with the Design Section at the Works Department and later joined the Department of Municipalities and Agriculture in Abu Dhabi. Khowlah was assigned as an engineer to the project where she first became a deputy project director and was promoted as a project director  in December last year.

“In fact, it is a big responsibility to shoulder. However, I  was not afraid of taking the responsibility of such a massive project. I  want to do my best to express my gratitude to late Shaikh Zayed,” she said. “The mosque will be opened to worshippers in the last days of Ramadan.”
 
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