It is named after the founder and first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He chose the location and took a substantial influence on the architecture and the design of the mosque. Based on his vision, the mosque was built with a rise of 11 meters above sea level, and 9.5 meters above the street level so that it is clearly visible from all directions.
As per the direction of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the mosque is located in the heart of the new Abu Dhabi, the capital city. On the 20th of December 2007, the mosque opened to the public.
After the first phase involving foundations and the concrete structure, the mosque was finished with a decoration of Greek and Italian white marble. For the interior design, calligraphers from the United Arab Emirates, Syria, and Jordan supervised the work of artists from all over the world.
The mosque’s spectacularly decorated interior features unique plants designed specifically for the mosque, as well as verses from the Holy Quran. The designers used mosaic to cover the entire courtyard (17,000 square meters) and thus it is considered among the largest open spaces in mosques worldwide.
Another astonishing feature of the grand mosque is the over 5,625 m2 large carpet in the main prayer hall. It has been hand-knotted by about 1,300 Iranian craftsmen out of 35 tons of wool and 12 tons of cotton. With a total of 2,268,00 knots, the carpet is the largest in the world. Its estimated value is about 30 million.
Colored with 25 natural colors, the green color is predominant as it was the favorite color of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The mosque is open for prayers all day long. For the non-Muslim visitors, the visiting time is from 9 AM – 10 PM every day except for Friday mornings. Visit timing changes during the holy month of Ramadan.