Beyond being sacred places of worship, some UAE mosques serve as windows to a bygone era. Their walls have seen the faithful in several generations, and their doors have welcomed crowds from around the world through the years.
In a journey that feels like stepping back in time, Khaleej Times visited three landmark mosques that radiate a distinctive old-world charm.
Al Bidya Mosque, Fujairah
Al Bidya Mosque was built in 1446, making it the oldest mosque in the country.
Nestled against the backdrop of Hajar Mountains, the mosque features no fancy glass windows nor shiny floors. But the hard work that has been put into building it is evident: Its a structure made of clay, stones, mud bricks, and palm wood — showcasing the traditional building techniques of the region.
Enter its courtyard and you'll immediately feel a sense of calm, an inviting environment for hours of meditation.
Inside, the mosque reflects simplicity and humility. The small prayer hall, with its arches and columns, highlights the rich heritage it houses.
This iconic place of worship is situated between Khor Fakkan and Dibbah Al Fujairah.
Al Aqrobi Mosque, Al Khan Beach, Sharjah
Along Sharjah's Al Khan beach is a hidden gem: A mosque constructed nearly a hundred years ago.
This sand-coloured Al Aqrobi Mosque is the centrepiece of a large compound, with its minaret standing nearly 20 metres away from the main praying area.
The structure of the building is held on five pillars and worshippers can offer prayers in just four rows. It is said to be one of the smallest mosques in the country.
After nearly a century, Al Aqrobi Mosque remains intact, with its wooden ceiling, an ancient lantern, and four large wooden windows in front and two windows on each side.
The interiors, however, were slightly changed with new carpets and air-conditioning facilities. One of its most distinctive parts is its minaret, which was built a few metres from the ground.
Bin Zayed Mosque, Al Shindagha, Dubai
The entire Shindagha neighbourhood in Dubai is a slice of the country's heritage — but one of its jewels is the Bin Zayed Mosque.
Despite new constructions in the area, this mosque has kept its ancient architectural design.
The courtyard's carpet would remind one of date palm fronds in earthy tones. Even in main prayer hall, the carpet has been crafted to replicate the appearance of date palm fibres.
Traditional lanterns light up the compact hall, while a rustic ceiling fan keeps worshippers comfortable.
Look up and you'll find wooden beams holding the ceiling together. Offering prayers inside is certainly an experience to remember.
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