Photographer's Note

Inside the mosque, the guests move around along the walls, so the interior looks empty. But I saw these two guys.

Neighboring Emirati cities Abu Dhabi and Dubai are familiar with superlatives: The two seem locked in a constant competition for the newest, biggest, most luxurious things, from skyscrapers to roller coasters to shopping malls. Perhaps the famous Texas tagline would be better used there: Nearly everything, after all, is bigger in the Emirates. When Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi and founder and first president of the United Arab Emirates, began plans for a mosque in his home city, there was no doubt that it would be spectacular. By the time the project was finished, three years after his death, the Sheikh Zayed mosque was a magnificent display of craftsmanship. While most photographs of the mosque are taken looking up at its domes and minarets, there's something quite spectacular below, too: the world's largest carpet.

When building the mosque, the government of Abu Dhabi solicited artistic commissions from across the globe, ultimately incorporating marble, stone, crystal, gold, and ceramic work from various countries in a dazzling mosaic of global creativity. Over 3,000 workers and 38 contracting companies participated in the mosque's construction, which took more than ten years. For its contribution to the project, Iran offered a handwoven carpet for the mosque's main prayer room, a fitting recognition of the rich history of carpet weaving in the region. Given the mosque's awesome size, though (it spans more than 30 acres), this could be no ordinary carpet. Using 38 tons of cotton and wool, 1,200 weavers from Iran's Khorasan Province crafted the rug over a year and a half under the design direction of Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi. The finished product, which was unveiled in 2007 in time for the opening of the mosque that year, incorporates 2.2 billion individual, hand-tied knots, covers 60,546 square feet, and weighs 12 tons. (

You see here a small part of this amazing achievement. :).

TSee the picture in the large format

Closer view
The biggest carpet, very big chandelier and the
mihrab and mimbar very small.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11974 W: 126 N: 30435] (142274)
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