The colossal Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nayan Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and the eighth largest mosque in the world. Situated near the Al-Maqta bridge in Abu Dhabi, it is spread over an area of 22,000 m² and has the capacity to hold 40,000 worshippers at a time. The main prayer hall can accommodate up to 9,000 worshippers. Two rooms next to the main prayer hall, with a 1,500-capacity each, are for the exclusive use of women.
The mosque is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the founder and the first President of the United Arab Emirates, who is also buried here. The mosque was officially opened in the Islamic month of Ramadan in 2007. Unique in the Emirates, the mosque is open to non-Muslims on Saturday through Thursday mornings until noon, with a tour at 10 am.
The design of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque was inspired by both Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture. The dome layout and floor plan of the mosque is similar to that of the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Its archways are quintessentially Moorish as in the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco, while its minarets are classically Arab. The design of the mosque could be described as a fusion of Arab, Mughal and Moorish architecture. There are four minarets on the four corners of the mosque with a height of about 115 metres. There are 57 white marble decorated domes (including their interiors) covering the outside yard and the main building. The courtyard of nearly 17,000 m² is also paved with floral marble designs.
The carpet laid out on the vast expanse inside is the "World's Largest Carpet"; it was designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi and manufactured by Iran's Carpet Company, employing around 1200 weavers, 20 technicians, and 30 workers. The carpet measures 5,627 m² and weighs 47 tons: 35 tons of wool and 12 tons of cotton. There are 2,268,000,000 knots within the carpet! Furthermore, this mosque also holds the largest chandelier in any mosque: there are seven copper and gold-plated chandeliers, imported from Germany; the largest chandelier has a diameter of 10 metres and is 15 metres in height.