The new Shaikha Salama Mosque in Al Ain illuminated by well-positioned night lights. Image Credit: Aftab Kazmi/Gulf News

Al Ain: A stunning new structure has appeared on the downtown horizon in Al Ain, giving a modern look to the city's skyline without altering the traditional Arabian character and the cultural uniqueness.

The structure is a mosque that has replaced the old Shaikha Salama Mosque. The building was designed by the famous Jordanian architect Jafar Tukan who has many beautiful structures in his portfolio.

With a capacity of almost 4,800 people, the construction of the new mosque has recently been completed and it is now awaiting an official opening. External works with landscaping is currently taking place between to the mosque's plot limits and the adjoining street.

The mosque covers an area of 35,873 square metres and the design includes an extra 1,000 car parking spaces to meet future needs. Al Ain Municipality had given the design and supervision contract to Aldar Properties in October, 2007.

Holes under the earth

The project was initially expected to be completed in 2009, but the sudden appearance of a huge subsurface cavity during the construction took extra time and effort. These cavities cannot be traced in normal conditions from above.

The mosque combines a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Arabic architecture and will reflect the historical and cultural uniqueness of Al Ain. The natural stone cladding, granite flooring and abundant light in the completed structure produce an inner space that communicates the Mosque's exquisite symbolism, while the incorporation of lifts gives the new structure a genuinely modern aspect, a spokesperson from Aldar said.

The night time view of the mosque creates a charming sight for passers-by with the imaginative use of lights.

The lights give a distinct look to the mosque, highlighting its features and beauty. The mosque has already become a landmark for Al Ain and a cornerstone of future development in the city.

Abdul Quddos, a nearby resident, who used to regularly offer prayers at the old Shaikha Salama Mosque, said he was happy upon the completion of the new mosque.

"The old mosque was also spacious and beautiful but the [new] mosque looks much better than that," he said. He is waiting for the opening of the mosque.