Once again, the UAE adds another outstanding achievement to its vast array of exceptional accomplishments following the announcement of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque ranking as the world’s second favourite landmark, winning Trip Advisors Traveller's Choice Award of 2017.
Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel site, bases the ranking of its Traveller's Choice Award on the opinions, ratings and comments of millions of travellers and visitors of architectural, and historic sites around the world, and is regarded as one of the most prestigious awards in the world.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre’s administration attributed this achievement to several reasons, the most significant of which was the support of the nation’s wise leadership, which led to the mosque becoming one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the UAE. The magnificence of its architecture and the exquisiteness of its ornamentation further enhances its splendour, so does its religious, and tolerant role in consolidating the notions of coexistence and cross-cultural communication, making it one of the most preferred global destinations throughout the year.
Ahmed Juma Al Za'abi, Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, said that "achieving second place, two years in a row, as one of 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."
"The award also highlights the wise leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Their Highness' roles in transforming the UAE, and Abu Dhabi in particular, into a global beacon of tolerance, and socio-cultural coexistence," Al Za'abi added.
The Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs also referred to the great support of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, where His Highness' efforts played a significant factor in the mosque achieving such a unique international status.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a contemporary and unique model of Islamic architecture and a tipping point in the modern arts. "The mosque aesthetic makes it an urban icon in both the UAE and the Middle East," Al Za'abi added, while also referring to the unique harmony and integration amongst the essence of Islamic architecture and the essentials of modern architecture, making the mosque a remarkable and an impressive model of architectural engineering.
He continued, "All these exceptional features mark the mosque's distinctive presence in the tourism arena, as one of the most significant and prominent tourist destinations in the world. It is a source of pride and motivates us to work even harder to maintain performance levels that in turn ensure the increase in the mosque's standing in international tourism."
"The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will maintain its cultural, national, aesthetic, and religious value that will continue to reflect the concepts and values consolidated by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which are deeply rooted in the UAE's soul and conscious, as an extension of its national identity" Al Za'abi concluded.
Yosuf Abdullah Alobaidli, Director-General of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre considered gaining such a rank to be an accurate reflection of the Centre's enduring efforts to improve its level of performance and achieve the finest and highest standards of quality in visitor services.
"Another source of pride for the Centre is that all services are delivered by UAE nationals, who were successfully able to reflect a bright image of their nation, and its exceptional values inspired by the vision of the nation’s late founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan the Nahyan and the UAE's strategy that strives to extend the bridges of cross-cultural harmony across various countries," Alobaidli added.
He ensured the Centre is determined to consolidate its position as one of the most important humanitarian beacons in the world, and also enrich its cultural and civilisational movement through a scheme of events and activities to enhance its prominent role in upholding the values of tolerance and coexistence. The Centre aims to organise and host various charitable and humanitarian initiatives, religious and cultural lectures, and local and international cultural forums, in line with the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 and the UAE Vision 2021.
According to Alobaidli, the mosque’s total visitors in 2016 reached 5,209,801, of which 1,448,394 were worshipers, 2,807,556 visitors, and 872,070 Ramadan Iftar guests, while lectures and the Holy Quran memorisation programmes reached a total number of 9,781. The mosque also distributed some 72,000 meals to the underprivileged.