Non-Muslims are being encouraged to visit Shaikh Zayed Mosque, one of the largest in the world and an architectural wonder.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) is to begin scheduled guided tours of the mosque to promote greater cross-cultural religious and heritage understanding, it was announced yesterday.
"Four tours will be held on February 21 as part of Abu Dhabi's celebration of International Tourist Guide Day. From the beginning of next month, daily tours will be conducted from Saturday to Thursday," said Nasser Saif Al Reyami, director of ADTA's Licensing and Classification Division.
He said the mosque tours will allow residents and tourists alike to experience this inspiring addition to Islamic architecture and to receive an insight into Islam and Abu Dhabi's heritage from trained and certified national tourist guides,"
"The introduction of mosque tours reflects Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan's internationally recognised unifying influence - a legacy which is being upheld today by the Abu Dhabi Government. The tours also demonstrate Abu Dhabi's inclusive approach to becoming a global tourism destination with true universal appeal," said Al Reyami.
Set to become a signature building for the UAE capital, the impressive mosque is clearly visible from main approach roads into Abu Dhabi city.
"It stands as a symbol of the warm hospitality and traditions of Abu Dhabi and subtly informs travellers of this message as they approach the capital. The role of the mosque embodies the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Arabic and Islamic traditions," Al Reyami said.
One of the world's largest mosques, covering 22,412 square metres, this landmark architectural statement on the UAE capital's evolving landscape, combines traditional Islamic designs and modern architectural techniques.
Abu Dhabi's universal approach has also extended to the building of the mosque with craftsmen from all corners of the world commissioned to build it with the finest of construction and interiors materials.
Dress code: Modest clothes
The Shaikh Zayed Mosque guided tours, which take between 60 and 90 minutes, will begin at 10am, Saturday to Thursday - registered visitors are asked to be at the mosque 15 minutes before the tours start.
Visitors need to book the complimentary tours by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Visitors will be allowed to take photographs.
As a mark of respect to a place of prayer and contemplation, visitors must wear modest, conservative loose fitting clothing with women covering their heads. Long sleeves are necessary and shorts or short skirts will not be acceptable. As footwear has to be removed before entering the mosque, slip-off shoes are recommended.
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