Abu Dhabi

Attracting millions of visitors each year, the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is Abu Dhabi’s most iconic building – and the world’s largest and most ornate place of worship. 

The open-door policy invites tourists and worshippers alike to enter the halls and witness the mosque’s spectacular onion-top domes, the reflective pools and the iconic prayer hall, making this a must-see when in Abu Dhabi. 

Did you know… this is the largest example of marble mosaic in the world? 

From the 96, jewel-encrusted internal columns to the 24-carat gold plated Swarovski crystal chandeliers, uncover all the amazing figures behind this extraordinary feat, and the unmissable images you can capture with your ultra-compact, light weighted and weatherproof Olympus E-M1 Mark II.  

Did you know… Each of the mosque’s column is ornate with gold and semi-precious stones.

The Structure

The building of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque started in 1996, and took almost 12 years to complete. The cost? It cost a cool 2 billion dirhams (approximately US$545 million) to bring the third-largest mosque in the world to life. This incredible structure covers over 22,412 square meters – or four football fields, and can hold over 40,000 worshipers at once.

The perfect shot: Head to the side of the building, where you will find the perfect angle to capture the myriad of exterior columns, the iconic domes and the spectacular reflecting pools – and the Olympus M1 Mark II image stabilisation will help you get the perfect shot without the need for tripods. 

Abu Dhabi

Did you know… The design of the mosque was inspired by Persian, Mughal and Indo-Islamic architecture.

The Architectural Wonders 

The figures of this awe-inspiring mosque sure are remarkable: it counts 82 white marble domes, over 1,096 exterior columns and 96 internal columns – all bejewelled with gold, semi-precious stones and crystals. You can just imagine how many people were involved in this project. Records show that over 3,000 artisans collaborated on the delivery and 38 global construction companies were contracted, giving us an idea of just how many minds and hands were involved in the creation of this mosque. 

The perfect shot:close up of the semi-precious columns. Look closely and you will find that all the columns in the main prayer hall are clad with marble and inlaid with pearls – now that’s something you don’t want to miss! 

Did you know… Over 15 countries contributed to the making of this stunning mosque.

The Finer Details 

You might have heard of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’s carpet – designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi and made by over 1,300 carpet knotters over two years. If you dig a bit deeper into the fascinating story of how this masterpiece was made, you will discover that this precious carpet – the largest in the world and made entirely with New Zealand and Iranian wool –  measures over 5,627 square meters, weights over 35 ton and within its threads, you can count (ready for this?) over 2,268,000,000 knots!

Another striking feature of this building are the seven imported chandeliers that incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals. Designed and built in Munich by German company Faustig, the largest of these beautiful chandeliers has a diameter of over 10 meters and a height of 15, making it – you’ve guessed it – the third, largest chandelier in the world. 

The perfect shot:close up of one of the seven chandeliers. With the help of the Olympus E-M1 Mark II wide-angle zoom, you will be able to capture all the finer details and millions of Swarovski crystals that shine bright in the mosque. 


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