Cal VA
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Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Downtown Abu Dhabi
Saadiyat island
F1 Track

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

While Virginia Ann went to conference sessions Cal took an all day tour to Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is about an hour south of Dubai.

The tour emphasized the need to wear conservative clothing and that women would need to cover their hair. On the road we discovered many of the women did not bring a veil. So we stopped at a car park convenience store to purchase veils.

Minarets of a mosque next to the convenience store
Outside the city several miles is one of the largest mosques in the world - the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. While not the largest it is reported to be the most expensive costing $500 million and 12 years to build.

One of the many minarets at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Security checked each person as we got off the bus. One of our party was singled out as not 'correct' and she had to rearrange her blouse prior to the tour being cleared for the mosque. It is one of only two mosques in the UAE allowing non-Musliums.

There are four large minarets at each of the four corners of the mosque.
There were hundreds of tourists visiting and chaos ruled at the entrance. Our group broke up to use the facilities so we spent quite a long time in the entry way of the mosque resulting in lots of pictures of the minarets and domes.
With about eighty (80) domes there were plenty of photo opportunities.
There are beautiful pools in front of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. I would have liked to spend a few days taking pictures here - as there was a photography contest for the best picture of the Mosque.
Beautiful tile in the entrance to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
The hallways at the entrance had multiple arches creating a neat effect.
This is the dome in the entrance - the Kufic calligraphy around the dome is beautiful.
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque courtyard which can hold up to 40,000 worshippers -
surrounded by arches and pillers topped by gold.
Prior to entry all of us tourists had to remove our shoes. They are ready with several racks for shoes and benches. There are thousands people moving through the mosque each day.

In the entrance foyer of the mosque is a huge chandelier
The chandelier is another UAE record - the world's largest chandelier, made in Germany containing over a million Swarowski crystals.
Ceramic decorations in the mosque foyer - like metallica.
Inside the mosque there are three huge rooms each with one of these giant chandeliers.
From the center of the Grand Mosque looking into the section which tourists are not allowed to visit. Those little dots in the background are people - it is a big room. And another record - the world's largest carpet - made in Iran by 1200 artisans it contains 2.2 million knots.
The far wall - the qibla - is inscribed with the 99 names of Allah in traditional Kufic calligraphy.
Detail of the calligraphy - the Arabic is so graceful - the entire wall is illuminated with small fiber optic lights.
The near wall is decorated with a flower pattern of hand crafted panels made from Turkish Iznik tiles.
The lighting inside is so dramitic and even on the walls.
Detail of one of the three massive chalendiers
This photograph is from one end of the mosque to the other. The people in the center of the scene are tourists at the middle of the mosque. It is simply a huge room.
The Mosque is so photognic - as we were leaving I took more pictures. We had a long time as we lost one of the couples in the tour. So for 30 minutes we waited until finally leaving without them - they were on the bus!!! I did not mind too much as it allowed me to take more pictures.
We then went to the downtown section of Abu Dhabi and stopped at a village constructed as a living museum - Heritage Village. It was interesting but I liked the very large UAE Flag best.
From Heritage Village you have a great view accross the Arabian Gulf waters into downtown Abu Dhabi.
a boat in the harbor of Abu Dhabi
The tour then traveled downtown for lunch. Cal used the the time not to eat but to walk around downtown and take pictures of the buildings.

The is one of two towers raised where the old souk (market) area was. In the middle of the complex there is a new market and that is where we went for lunch.
Top of the tower - I think this is Trust Tower but could be the Domain Tower. Both towers are simular.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower is a pretty cool building with a fold in it's middle. It is 40 stories tall.

Be cool if it was the building for the city newspaper.
This skyscraper contains the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority founded for the purpose of investing funds on behalf of the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It manages the emirate's excess oil reserves, estimated to be as much as $500 billion
Next to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower is The Landmark skyscraper. It is 72 stories and is mixed use about half commercial and the top half residential.
Abu Dhabi rebuilt the old souk and it is very nice - all in wood giving it a very charming atmosphere.
From downtown we travled to one of the many islands around Abu Dhabi. Saadiyat island was uninhabited and now is being remade into a $27 billion cultural center. In the plan are 3 world class museums including the Louve Abi Dhabi and a Guggenheim museum.

This building looked like sand dunes
While the rest of the tour went into a building to watch a film on the island, Cal slipped through a gate and took pictures of the Shanghai Expo pavilion.
The structure was the UAE Pavilion from the 2010 World Expo in the Chinese city of Shanghai.
The Shanghai Expo pavilion is made up of 24,000 stainless steel pieces.
In order to mimic the way the desert is shaped by wind, the building was rippled on the windward side and smooth on its sheltered side. It was also designed to appear red, copper and gold in the day and glow with golden internal lighting at night.

On Yas Island we stopped at the F1 track called Yas Marina Circut.

On the left is the 5 star Yas Viceroy Hotel and in the middle is the marina.

The Yas Viceroy Hotel actully has the F1 track going under a section - and there are rooms which have a great view of the track.
The Yas Viceroy Hotel canopy is studded with over 5000 LED lights. We were not there at night - but it must be something to see - it ripples with colorful light displays.
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