The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at Abu Dhabi has been ranked as the world’s second favourite landmark, according to travel site TripAdvisor’s annual Travellers’ Choice Awards.
Angkor Wat in Cambodia – which is the largest religious monument in the world – topped the rankings of the world’s best landmarks, while the Cathedral of Cordoba in Spain was ranked third.
St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and the Taj Mahal in Agra, India rounded off the top five.
Regionally, the only other landmark to feature on the list was the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – the world’s tallest building – which was ranked 22.
The winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for landmarks worldwide over a 12-month period. Overall, 706 landmarks in 82 countries were rated by travellers.
Ahmed Juma Al Za’abi, deputy minister for Presidential Affairs and chairman of the board for Abu Dhabi’s 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 mosque’s aesthetic makes it an urban icon in both the UAE and the Middle East,” he added.
The Grand Mosque, which opened in 2007, features four minarets and 82 domes, representing different Islamic styles. It can accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers, including 10,000 in the internal areas and 30,000 in the external areas.
It received 5,209,801 visitors in 2016, among whom 1,448,394 were worshipers, 2,807,556 were visitors, and 872,070 were Ramadan iftar guests. The mosque also distributed some 72,000 meals to the underprivileged, according to officials.