What places do you consider most holy and special? Why?
The United Arab Emirates is a land with a diverse and fascinating history. A variety of people and cultures call it home. Important sites to many religions including Islam, Christianity, Jainism, and Sikhism can be found there.
- Grand Mosque, Dubai: The original mosque was built in 1900, but it was rebuilt in 1998. The Grand Mosque is central to religious and cultural life of Dubai’s Muslim community. It has the highest minaret in all of Dubai at 70 meters high. It also boasts over 50 domes.
- Ali Ibn Abi Talib Mosque/Iranian Mosque, Dubai: This gorgeous mosque was built in 1979. It is heavily influenced by Persian architectural styles. The exterior is covered in brilliant and colorful mosaics.
- Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi: This is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates. The building is over 30 acres large. Work on the mosque started in 1996 and was competed in 2007. It is the resting place of former UAE president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The mosque has many unique and impressive features. This includes the world’s largest carpet and the third largest chandelier in the world.
- Shiva and Krishna Mandir, Dubai: This is the only Hindu temple in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai’s Hindu population was given permission to build a temple in 1958 by Sheik Rashid Bin Saeed al Maktoum. The temple was constructed on the top floor of a shopping center known as Bur Dubai Old Souk. Over time the temple expanded, taking over the stores it was built over. The complex’s commercial origins can still be seen in the structure’s architecture and design.
- Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai: In 1967 Fr. Eusebio Daveri built the Church of the Assumption in Dubai. The church’s foundation stone was laid by Sheikh Rashid. However, over the decades the Catholic population of Dubai grew, and the church was too small to serve them all. It was replaced with St Mary’s Catholic Church and rededicated in 1989.
- Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple, Dubai: This temple was constructed in 2012 and is the main house of worship for the 50,000 Sikh residents of Dubai. It contains a mixture of classical and modern architecture, a beautiful symbol of peace and harmony between different traditions. Its design is heavily inspired by India’s Golden Temple.
- Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai: This mosque was built in 1976 by Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Its exterior is made entirely from white stone. The mosque is open to visitors of all faiths and is part of the “Open Doors, Open Minds” program of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. It is one of the most photographed mosques in Dubai.
- Al Badiyah Mosque, Al Badiyah: This is the oldest mosque in the United Arab Emirates, dating back to 1446. Little is known about the mosque’s origins and early history. The mosque is also unique in that it has only 4 domes, fewer than most other mosques. Qurans and other holy texts are stored in large cubes cut out of the mosque walls.
- Al Noor Mosque, Sharjah: This mosque sits beside the beautiful Khaled lagoon. It is constructed in the Ottoman style of design and was heavily inspired by Turkey’s Sultan Ahmed Mosque. The mosque holds the world record for the largest wooden charity box.
- Derasar Jain Temple, Dubai: This house temple is the primary place of worship for Dubai’s sizable Jain population. House temples are shrines to Jain deities set up in private homes. This temple is on the 6th floor of the Musalla residential tower.