7 April, Sunday

UAE, Abu Dhabi – The stately all-white facade of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque beckons as a monument in the desert, drawing worshippers and admirers from near and far.

Combining Moorish, Persian and Mughal architecture, the architecture is suffused with an understated opulence, featuring 96 semi-precious jewel-encrusted internal columns and seven 24-carat gold plated Swarovski crystal chandeliers. The mosque’s best features are hidden in the details – precious stones like amethyst and jasper stud the columns, while mother-of-pearl radiate across the walls in intricate patterns.

Full-length, finely detailed stonework and gold etchings add stunning detail, but perhaps it’s the all-marble courtyard – adorned with traditional Middle Eastern flowers – that is the mosque’s most breathtaking feature. So dazzling is the marble that sunglasses are a must during daytime visits. Alternatively, plan a nighttime visit for a different, yet no-less-arresting, view of the grand building.

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