The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque documentary on National Geographic

Abu Dhabi, 23 March 2010 For over 12 years, more than 2500 people worked tirelessly on a project that has become a national icon. The construction of the Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi was a huge multi-national undertaking and the final result is nothing short of spectacular – not only in sheer size, but also in architectural and creative beauty.

With the construction of this giant masterpiece complete, the historical process of its development has been caught on camera by National Geographic for all posterity, and is ready to be revealed to the world.

“This documentary is part of Abu Dhabi Media Company’s commitment to bring viewers in the region leading entertainment and information in Arabic, while contributing to a better understanding of not just the world we inhabit but also the heritage and achievements of our own region. The documentary also helps showcase this beautiful landmark and Abu Dhabi’s achievements in culture and architecture,” said H.E. Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of ADMC.

On March 26 at 9 pm viewers all over the Middle East and North Africa will have the privilege of watching the episode before the rest of the world, exclusively on National Geographic Abu Dhabi – the result of a partnership between Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) and National Geographic Channels International (NGCI). The programme will be simulcast on Abu Dhabi Al Emarat channel and National Geographic Abu Dhabi.

“This unique offering demonstrates the channel’s success in creating local content and taking it to the world, giving people from all over the globe an understanding of the region’s rich culture,” said Rohit Dsilva, General Manager – National Geographic Abu Dhabi.

Following three years of thorough research and film production in harsh desert conditions and filmed during 10 trips to the mosque, the documentary not only features an icon of pride for the region but demonstrates National Geographic Abu Dhabi’s dedication to providing cutting-edge, exclusive content that is relevant to the region’s viewers, as well as being of interest to international viewers.

“We are very pleased to announce the premiere of our first regional documentary within just eight months of the launch of National Geographic Abu Dhabi, the first free-to-air International factual entertainment channel in Arabic. What makes this occasion special is that we have the opportunity to showcase it to the region before it is aired anywhere else in the world. We have been working hard to deliver on our promise to produce more local programmes for viewers, and the screening of this regional documentary proves our dedication to providing cutting-edge, exclusive content that is relevant to the region’s viewers, as well as being of interest to international viewers,” commented Karim Sarkis, Executive Director – Broadcast Group, Abu Dhabi Media Company.

The documentary was directed by award-winning Australian director Peter Lamb, who specialises in localised content on the subjects of history and the arts, and has written and directed over 110 local television programmes.

“Recording the construction of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi required patience, tact, perseverance, and the necessity for a high tolerance for heat – but the hard work certainly paid off. Our personal magic moment came when we first saw the main prayer hall begin to empty of scaffolding and we finally realised just how magnificent it was. It was pure pleasure to document this!” said Peter Lamb, Director.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the vision of the former President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who passed away in November 2004. Though he did not live to see its completion, he was laid to rest in a courtyard adjacent to his beloved mosque. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and the eighth largest mosque in the world.