Sep 27 2008

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Published by at 7:29 pm under Holidays,Travels abroad

Last weekend while we were in the UAE we hotfooted it down to Abu Dhabi for the day. It was great to look around and see what had changed since we moved away from there in 2003, and it was also terrific to catch up with our old pals Barbie and Marc and their two nippers Megan (seen holding hands with Mitchell below) and four week old Chloe.

One obvious change is the completion (almost) of the Sheikh Zayed mosque. This towering edifice has been under construction for more than ten years, and even now is not completely finished. (Landscaping seems to be taking forever.)

It boggles the mind that in Dubai they can build all of this in less than six years (I kid you not – in 2002 there was only a bare patch of desert there). By contrast the Sheikh Zayed mosque just seems to be taking forever.

The old legend was that it couldn’t be finished while Sheikh Zayed was alive. Well, the old guy’s dead now, so what’s the hold up??

Anyway, here’s a collection of then and now photos. The former set were taken during a private tour of the construction site in 2003.

2003 – – – – – – – – -> 2008

As you can see, it’s a bit fancier these days. In fact, it would be fair to say that it’s anything but subtle. In the central prayer hall that’s the world’s largest carpet and the world’s largest chandelier. Unfortunately some goon decided that Sheridan wasn’t allowed to take her chair onto this famous carpet – which seemed pretty rude and uncharitable for a house of worship. I mean, they let anyone walk on it in their stinky funky socks…

And you know what? I kind of preferred the brutalist style of the unfinished product.

One response so far

One Response to “Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi”

  1. grandadon 28 Sep 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I have to say that it looks more like I’d imagine an oriental bordello would look like than a place of worship. I’m not sure what Mitchell is trying to show, perhaps that you can’t slide very well without wool socks! Still all in all very impressive even if it is taking a few extra years to complete. Reminded me of when you guys took me out to that place in the desert that was a sort of tourist resort and a mock up of early tribal life. this was three quarters finished and is probably still in the same ‘not quite done’ state as then.
    I suppose I souldn’t be critical of the over bright colours after all just look at what a fe cookie painters did in the Sistine Chapel.

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