It is one of those few days when you get to have a break from the humdrum life of the working routine. A day where you get to enjoy for yourself, and not think about what to cook for lunch tomorrow or washing clothes and ironing some that have already dried. Just doing something that you'd enjoy like exploring.
And in one of these rare occasions of exploring that we end up visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It was a Saturday a day after Eid. We hailed a taxi cab and head out to the mosque.
It was pretty hot that day. At the height of summer season in the middle east is like being cooked alive under the heat of the sun. Everything is glaringly bright. The clear blue sky is just perfect for a good sun tan moment but only for 5 minutes. Beyond that, you'd end up bein toasted.
When we arrived there, we were not expecting it to be packed with visitors. Since, it was posted in the magazine that there will be a free guided tour on that day, I guess, everybody saw that small ad.
Before we proceed with the guided tour with the rest of the curious tourists. Women have to wear the abaya, to show respect to the holy place of worship. Abaya, is the black dress that covers the whole body of the women. A shiela is like a black scarf that covers the hair. Free abaya and shiela are being handed out on the east wing of the entrance. So I got my own abaya and tried to don the black dress and cover everything except my face. The hair should be completely covered, for whatever reason, I forgot to ask.
Then we picked a group where we could join and start the tour. We were lucky because our tour guide speaks clearly and very engaging in telling the details of the mosque. The columns, made in marble but have precious stones embedded in the shape of flowers and vines. All columns that surround the mosque.
Next stop is the the inside of the mosque. But before we entered we were asked to take off our shoes in the open area. Take note, it was around 11 am that time but the marble floor outside still feel cold. According to the tour guide, these marbles were fabricated from China that repels heat and keep the floor cold despite the increasing temperature. Then we head inside through a huge door which is elaborately adorned in vines and flowers. Inside the prayer room, are two halls. One big prayer room for women. The prayer room for women, has a beautiful ceiling that has the exact design as the carpet that covers the floor.
The main prayer room, is the grandest among the structure. The chandelier that adorns the beautiful ceiling just takes your breathe away. Made in Germany and in Swarovzki crystals, natural lights just dances rainbows on the walls of the prayer room. The columns of the inner prayer room is just astounding, marble columns with flowers and vines designs, but instead of precious stones embedded its mother of pearl. The walls are covered with white cold that protects the etchings. And the huge carpet that covers the entire prayer room was hand woven by Iranian women. A quick trivia on the carpet, a subtle line is visible to align the people who are going to pray, to maintain order and no overlapping will happen.
The mosque really deserves the name grand, because of everything it stands for and everything that is made of. It simply is a work of beautiful architecture and everything expensive roll into one.