Visitors in Abu Dhabi can now tour five of the emirate's iconic mosques

A new initiative aims to introduce tourists to Islamic history and architecture through tours of the emirate's mosques

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, July 16, 2015:    Men break their fast during Iftar on the last day of the Holy Month of Ramadan at Al Aziz Mosque in Marina Square on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi on July 16, 2015. Christopher Pike / The National

Reporter: Emmanuel Samoglou
Section: News

 *** Local Caption ***  CP0716-na-Reem Mosque12.JPG
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Visitors to Abu Dhabi can tour the emirate's historic mosques under a new initiative being rolled out by culture chiefs.

The Mosques Tour Initiative, which aims to introduce tourists to Islamic history, culture, and architecture, was launched by the Departure of Culture Tourism with the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments and various churches in the emirate as part of an inter-faith partnership celebrating the values of the Year of Tolerance.

The launch was attended by Father Anderson Thompson of St Joseph’s Cathedral and Father Fakhro Bishop of St Anthony’s Cathedral for Coptic Orthodox, alongside Omar Habtoor Al Darei, executive director of Islamic Affairs for the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments.

The tour will take in five significant places of worship; Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed the First Mosque, Al Kareem Mosque in Al Marina, Al Aziz Mosque on Reem Island, the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan the Second Mosque in Al Khalidiyah, and the Mariam, Umm Eisa Mosque in Al Mushrif.

During the tours, guests would be educated on the etiquette of visiting mosques, and will be introduced to the role of mosques in an Islamic society. They will also be informed about the history of the mosques.

Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, acting executive director of Tourism and Marketing Sector at the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, said the scheme would offer a unique insight into Islamic culture.

"Providing tours of our houses of worship also syncs with our efforts to shed light on the features of Islamic culture and civilisation that characterise Abu Dhabi, which are reflected in the historic mosques built by our ancestors, as well as the contemporary mosques built by the new generation," said Mr Al Shaiba.

"The originality and authenticity of the Emirati capital is reflected in all of the mosques selected, and they give visitors an opportunity to become acquainted with the true teachings of Islam and educate them on the values that teach us tolerance and noble ethics."

"As the tour takes place, this initiative will help in identifying the story of each of the mosques, the details of Islamic architecture used and the role played by mosques in Emirati society as a symbol of acceptance, peaceful coexistence, and cooperation."

The first tour of the initiative featured visits to the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan the Second Mosque in Al Khalidiyah, and the Mariam, Umm Eisa Mosque in Al Mushrif.

It was not disclosed when the full tour schedule will be introduced and how people can take part.