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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque attracts 5.8m visitors in 2017

Among them were worshippers, tourists and recipients of iftar and charity meals

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Antonie Robertson / The National
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Antonie Robertson / The National

Abu Dhabi's iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque attracted 5,790,101 visitors in 2017, a figure higher than the average of 5 million visitors quoted to The National last year.

According to statistics released by the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, the tally included 1,400,965 worshippers, 3,417,130 visitors, 857,510 iftar attendees and 2,496 Quran memorisation class students, and the rest were people who attended charitable meals.

Ahmed Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, said the centre seeked to promote the message of tolerance and extend the bridges of communication between diverse cultures and civilisations, according to Wam.

Last year, the attraction was ranked the world's second favourite landmark for the second year in a row, according to TripAdvisor, behind Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

“Achieving second place, two years in a row, as one of the most significant architectural monuments in the world, culminates the tremendous efforts and exceptional services the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque offers to visitors from all walks of life,” Mr Al Zaabi said.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque highlights the legacy of the Founding Father Sheikh Zayed and commemorates his values, vision, memory, qualities and contributions to humanity.

The mosque has attracted some world famous visitors over the years. In 2007, the UK's Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall toured the site and in 2010, Queen Elizabeth II visited and paid her respects at the tomb of Sheikh Zayed. Prince Charles visited again in 2016.

Selena Gomez, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner visited in 2014, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton wore a kandura for his visit in 2015, while a controversial visit by the singer Rihanna in 2013 resulted in her being asked to leave for taking inappropriate pictures.

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The mosque that 'united the world'