This morning, we went to Abu Dhabi to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This is one of the biggest mosque in the world. It was enormous, beautiful, and amazing. Abu Dhabi is about 1 hour outside of Dubai, but we knew we needed to make the drive to see it. The pictures do not do it justice. We were there for 2 hours, and were able to take a tour with a guide to learn the history of the mosque.
After we returned from the mosque, and had lunch, we went on the second pre-paid excursion I had for this trip. (Burj Kahlifa was the other - the mosque was free) That was a Red Sand Dune Safari. It was a lot of fun, and right up Arlington's alley. We rode super fast across the sand dunes in a Land Cruiser that had a roll cage. Not even kidding. It was crazy. The kids loved it. The dunes were BEAUTIFUL. Sand for miles. You get just a few miles out of Dubai, and the entire modern area disappears and becomes nothing but sand. And haze. (we learned that it is almost always hazy from the heat and the sand). What a drive. As part of the trip they then take you to a camp that is set up in the middle of the desert, and you have BBQ, and there is a small show. We had a great time. Didn't get home until 10pm and kids went right to sleep!
Round office building we saw on our way to the mosque
Grand Mosque - look at the size of it
Arlington, Finley and I had to be covered from head to toe to enter the moque
The main courtyard. On special prayer days and holidays, this court yard is full of worshipers. It can hold 30,000 people in the court yard alone. This mosque has 86 half domes. They do not have religious significance, even though they are found on most mosques. They are there just to help amplify the sound
These towers are called Minarets. They are also found on all mosques. Before technology, this is how people were called to prayer. Now - there are speakers that amplify the prayer, even though it is still a person that does the calling
Just beautiful. We were in a mosque. In the Middle East. It was humbling. And we learned so much about the Muslim religion from our guide
This mosque was named after the founder of United Arabe Emirates - the country where Dubai (and Abu Dhabi) is. UAE. The country is only 46 years old. The founder was Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. And he is buried here on the grounds. He never got to see the mosque to completion before he died.
The flowers in the marble were a style that Sheikh Zayed wanted. In different parts of the mosque there are representations of flowers from all over the world.
This is the oldest form of Arabic language. It is not used any more.
All around the mosque are pools. Our guide told us the pools actually help with keeping the outdoor space of the mosque cool
This chandelier was hanging right inside the entrance. It weighs 2 tons
These are the doors that lead into the main area of the mosque. This picture does not do their size justice
Inside the main prayer hall of the mosque are three of these chandeliers. the biggest one weights 13 tons. It is made of Murano glass from Italy. The colors have no religious significance. Most mosque use red, and green because they feel these are colors of peace and clarity
Looking in the main prayer hall. This can hold up to 20,000 people. There are also two smaller prayer halls - one for women and one for men, that is used more on a regular basis. Each of those can hold 8000 people. I also want you to note the carpet. Our guide told us it took 1200 people 2 years to make it (it was hand woven). It weights 36 tons and it had to be brought in on a special truck and pieced back together.
These are the 99 attributes of God. The biggest circle is the word God, and right above his name is a blank space because it represents his perfection and how we could never cover all his attributes
Alla. There is a saying on the wall that actually comes from the Quaran and the Bible. IT says "A land flowing with Milk and Honey". The whilte lines you see are the milk and the gold around the flowers is the honey.
This is the prayer clock. Muslims pray 5 times a day. The 6th spot just represents the time of dawn. Each prayer time is set by the sun. 5:02 is the beginning of the day - pre-dawn. 12:30 would be when the sun is highest in the sky. And so forth. The times changes a few minutes every day as the seasons change.
Cute Finley. We had to cover up. They gave us covers, but we brought the head scarves. We also had on long sleeves under this, but they had all tourist put this on.
Cars in front of us driving crazy on the sand. They let some of the air out of the tires before they start, and then they drive like nutballs
The Red Sand Dunes - the sand was really soft
We could see nothing but sand for miles
Yep - the Middle East is nothing but desert
Cainan just running like a mad man all over the place. That boy has endless energy
At the BBQ. We sat at low tables on pillows on the ground. Kids thought it was great. They dug all around in the sand
The gave the girls (or anyone who wanted them) free small Henna tattoos.
Arlington was the only one who agreed to a camel ride.
One of the people in the show. I think he spun in a circle for 10 minutes straight
All the people that were at the camp and dinner
This picture is for Phyllis Kovall - this was our dinner - all kinds of yummies! It was a buffet, so we could pick what we anted. The skewer is lamb