There’s no better way to get introduced to the lovely culture, tradition and religion of the land than by visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Family hotels around the area, such as Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, provide plenty of leisure activities to keep your entire family occupied.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was established by the first president of the UAE and it was also used as the grounds for his burial place – marking the first ceremony that was held on the site. Open to non Muslims, the mosque can hold approximately 41,000 worshippers within its premises. The mosque is complete with around 80 domes made of marble held by 1000 towering pillars and marked by four minarets measuring to a height of 107m. The architecture and design of the mosque represents a modern Islamic setting, from its intricate designs to final touches. It is known that over 100,000 tons of pure white marble from Greece and Macedonia were used to construct the mosque. The floral designs within its walls were laid with semi precious stones such as red agate, amethyst, jasper, mother of pearl, lapis lazuli and abalone. The interior of the mosque will leave you breathless and in awe, as the chandeliers, the largest weighing around 12 tons, sparkles with Swarovski crystals and 40 kgs of 24-carat gold.

To amplify its sheer beauty, the gardens are decorated with reflective pools. Visitors can either benefit from taking in the beauty of this mosque in its natural lightning as they shine and shimmer under the light from the sun or witness its beauty at night with the special and unique lighting system.

Visitors to the mosque are advised to cover their ankles and wrists before entering the holy site, and those who aren’t appropriately dressed will be given an abaya to don over their clothes. The mosque is open daily for visitors, from 9 am to 10 pm, except on Friday mornings – the holy day; where hundreds gather for prayer.

Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world.