Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre
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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque sees 70% increase in visitors in 2023

06 Mar 2024

Since its inception, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre (SZGMC) has been promoting the mosque's cultural message of tolerance and building bridges of rapprochement and dialogue between the world's cultures. In addition to its role as a global centre for religious rites, the mosque has become a hub for tolerance and cultural and civilizational communication with various cultures of the world.

In 2023, the Centre continued its role in affirming the mosque's position as a global cultural and tourist destination. The mosque achieved a remarkable increase in the total number of visitors in 2023, which recorded 70 percent compared to 2022. The total number of visitors to the mosque reached 5,501,420, including 1,409,947 worshippers, of whom 619,664 performed daily prayers, 310,609 performed Friday prayers, and 434,719 performed Ramadan and Eid prayers.

The total number of visitors to the mosque reached 4,033,552. Additionally, 57,921 people used the mosque's jogging track. Individuals accounted for 74 percent of the total number of visitors to the mosque, with 3,000,880 visitors. Visitors in groups accounted for 26 percent of the total number of visitors to the mosque, with 1,032,672 visitors, as official delegations represented a number of government institutions, educational institutions, embassies, private sector entities, and hotels, and the number of their individuals reached 20,172 visitors to the mosque among 1,272 reservations, including 330 high-level delegations, which included 14 heads of state, 3 deputy heads of state, 10 parliament speakers, 8 prime ministers, 2 deputy prime ministers, 6 governors, 2 deputy governors and regional governors, 3 sheikhs and princes, 73 ministers, 14 deputy ministers, 39 ambassadors and consuls, 74 guests from the military sector, 12 representatives of religious denominations, and 64 visits by delegations from different entities.

The number of visitors from tourist companies was 1,012,500, within 54,555 bookings. All delegations learned about the mosque's message of tolerance and cultural communication, and about the beauty of its unique Islamic architecture. The age group of 25 to 35 years old constituted the highest percentage of visitors to the mosque from different countries, reaching 34 percent.

Visitors from outside the UAE accounted for 81 percent of the mosque's guests, while visitors from within the UAE accounted for 19 percent, consolidating the mosque's position on the world tourism map and its prominent role as a cradle of values of tolerance and coexistence between peoples. In this context, Asia topped the list of visitors to the mosque from all over the world, with 52 percent of visitors, followed by Europe with 33 percent, North America with 8 percent, Africa and South America with 3 percent each, and Australia with 1 percent.

In terms of the nationalities of visitors to the mosque, the top ten countries were: India with 23 percent, followed by China with 8 percent, then Russia with 7 percent, the United States of America with 5 percent, followed by Germany with 4 percent, then Italy with 3 percent, followed by Pakistan with 3 percent, the United Kingdom with 3 percent, France with 3 percent, and the Philippines with 2 percent.

As part of the Centre's efforts to improve and enrich the visitor experience, the Centre offered 5,538 cultural tours to its visitors during the past year, with 73,461 visitors. There were 3,653 public tours, with 51,447 visitors, and 1,363 private tours, with 19,975 visitors. There were also 474 "Hidden Glimpses" tours, with 1,709 visitors, and 18 special invitation tours, with 94 visitors.

Key Achievements in 2023

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre has made significant achievements in 2023, reflecting its strategic vision, mission, and role as a leading centre for Islamic culture and civilization.

During the holy month of Ramadan, the mosque hosted a variety of events and witnessed a significant increase in the number of worshippers and visitors. The "Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed" hosted four Ramadan lectures at the mosque. The mosque also hosted 18 lectures by prominent scholars who were guests of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Centre prepared and distributed 1,500,000 Iftar meals throughout the month, at a rate of 50,000 complete Iftar meals per day. This was done in cooperation with Erth Hotel, the strategic partner of the Centre. The Centre attracted more than 580 volunteers from the national workforce and the Centre's employees, who all supervised the provision of the best services to the mosque's guests during Ramadan.

As part of its mission to promote cultural rapprochement, the Centre organised a number of initiatives, including the “Jusoor” programme, during which the Centre invited representatives of embassies and organisations from diverse cultures residing in the UAE to experience the holy month at the mosque. More than 150 people participated in the initiative, representing the US Embassy, the Australian Embassy, the Canadian Embassy, the New Zealand Embassy, the Danish Embassy, the Mexican Embassy, the American Women's Association, Al Dar Properties, the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, Al Raha International School, and a number of the Centre's employees.

The Centre also invited the embassies and organisations participating in the "Jusoor” programme to attend the "Zayed Humanitarian Work Day" event, which the mosque hosts annually. The Centre also organised a special programme that hosted 150 new converts, who learned about its message of peace and coexistence with others.

The total number of visitors to the mosque reached 852,714 worshippers and visitors during the holy month of Ramadan and the Eid al Fitr holiday. In detail, the number of worshippers who performed prayers in the mosque during Ramadan was 452,047, including 122,449 who performed Isha and Taraweeh prayers, and 180,896 who performed Tahajjud prayers.

The mosque witnessed the highest attendance in its history on the 27th night of Ramadan with 60,310 worshippers. As for Eid prayer, 42,771 worshippers performed it in the mosque. The number of visitors to the mosque during the holy month reached 367,867 visitors from different cultures of the world.

 

 

New Initiatives

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre launched a series of new initiatives to enrich the visitor experience and promote cultural understanding.

The Centre has launched “El-Daleel", a cutting-edge multimedia device that offers an exceptional guided tour experience to worshippers and visitors utilising virtual reality technology. Since its launch in October 2023, 7,113 visitors have used the device. “El-Daleel” is available in 14 languages, including sign language for the hearing impaired and descriptive language for the visually impaired.

In December 2023, the Centre launched the “Sura” Evening Cultural Tours, which provide visitors to Abu Dhabi and the UAE who have limited time due to international transit flights with the opportunity to visit the mosque. The tours are offered outside the Centre's regular working hours, allowing visitors to experience the mosque 24 hours a day. So far, 176 visitors have participated in the night tours.

In November 2023, the Centre opened the “Andalusia History and Civilization” exhibition at the mosque's Visitor Centre. Since it's opening until the end of 2023, 14,506 visitors had seen the exhibition, and the Centre's cultural tour guides had conducted 30 tours for more than 235 visitors from different cultures around the world.

The Centre also unveiled the “Bari Al Jami” mural, which is displayed at the Visitor Centre and serves as a testament to its role in enhancing the tourism movement in Abu Dhabi.

To promote religious awareness, the Centre has launched a new video series called “Kursi Al Jamie", and is preparing to launch another series called “Wamda Fiqhiya”. These two series will be added to the Centre's existing collection of cultural series, which has already produced more than 250 video episodes.

The Centre launched the eighth season of the "Spaces Of Light" Photography Award, coinciding with the International Day of Tolerance on 16th November 2023. The Award's travelling photo exhibition also participated in the 2023 Global Media Congress held in Abu Dhabi, and at the National Archives and Library, as part of its tour of various landmarks and regions in the UAE.
Participations & Programmes

In 2023, the Centre participated in many global and local events, including the ITB Berlin 2023; the World Travel Market 2023, which was held in London; the Arabian Travel Market 2023; and the second edition of the Global Media Congress 2023. The Centre also participated in the silver jubilee celebration of the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, and participated in the UAE pavilion at the World Cultures Festival 2023 in Ankara, Türkiye.

During 2023, the Centre continued to offer programmes under the umbrella of the "Young Builders", which aims to invest in the energies and talents of young people and youth from the UAE. The number of graduates of the Ibn Al Dar programme since its launch has reached 190, of whom 44 have joined the Centre as cultural tour specialists, including 12 graduates who have joined the Centre on a full-time basis and 32 graduates who have joined the Centre on a part-time basis. The number of graduates of the “Junior Culture Guide” programme has also reached more than 410. In addition, the Centre has completed the practical training of 155 university students specialising in tourism.

Projects

With the aim of sustaining and preserving the mosque's facilities, the Centre has implemented a number of major maintenance and development projects, the most notable of which are:

- Dome maintenance project: The project involved the maintenance of the mosque's 82 domes, including one of the largest domes in the world. The project was supervised by qualified national cadres and implemented according to the best international standards. 250 people participated in the implementation of the project, including 160 technicians specialised in scaffolding installation, and 90 technicians specialised in marble treatment. The project took approximately 200,000 hours to complete, at a rate of 10 hours per day.

- Golden crown maintenance project: The project involved the maintenance of the mosque's 1,096 golden crowns. 12 specialised craftsmen participated in the implementation of the project, which took 20,160 hours to complete, at a rate of 8 hours per day.

- Signage project: In order to facilitate the visitor experience and ensure a safe visit for them, the Centre completed the design of 492 signboards. 304 signboards were also manufactured and 209 were installed. Thus, the work teams have completed 73 percent of the project.

- Visitor statistics system: The Centre has developed a system for counting its visitors through an integrated camera system that provides more accurate data on the number of worshippers and visitors to the mosque.

- Maintenance work: Last year, the Centre carried out 23,387 maintenance works, which were concerned with the sustainability of the safety and beauty of the mosque's assets. The Centre's call centre, which operates around the clock, received 1,143 notifications requesting support and repair of damages to the mosque's assets and facilities.
Media Coverage

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has achieved a prominent position as a leading religious and cultural platform, in addition to being a unique architectural landmark. This has made it the focus of attention for many local and international media outlets.

In 2023, the mosque's Cultural Communication Department received more than 200 requests for media coverage. 2023 also saw the publication of numerous news stories about the mosque, including: More than 2,954 news articles published on news websites; More than 1,464 articles published on news networks and portals; More than 1,464 articles published in newspapers; More than 232 video reports broadcast on television and radio stations; and over 338 news reports prepared by news agencies.

Additionally, the Centre's social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and X Platform) achieved a remarkable presence, reaching 2,650,643 people from different cultures around the world through 587 posts published by the Centre throughout the year. Furthermore, tens of thousands of photos and posts by influencers and activists from different countries around the world were published on social media in various forms.
Accessibility

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre works to provide all the necessary facilities for worshippers and visitors to access the mosque and see its various facilities, corridors, and unique architectural details. This is reflected in the continuous increase in the number of visitors to the mosque from different cultures. The Centre provides them with a transportation service between its various parts using 42 electric cars, and a number of wheelchairs to serve the elderly and people of determination. To facilitate transportation to and from the mosque, the Centre has allocated parking spaces for taxis, with 8 parking spaces for charging electric cars, within the mosque's parking spaces. For the comfort of worshippers, 336 volunteers supervise the smooth flow of their entry for Friday prayers and provided them with comfort during their stay in the mosque.

As a leading hub and a standard reference for cultural and tourist destinations worldwide, the Centre provides its visitors with an integrated experience that allows them to spend a full day enjoying the mosque's various facilities, including the "Souq Al Jami", which offers all family members of different ages from more than 50 shops, in addition to a number of services that make their visit to the mosque a unique and unforgettable experience, such as photography service, various souvenir shops, and restaurants with a traditional Emirati character.