The United Arab Emirates may be a Muslim majority country, but that doesn’t mean the thriving expat community is without any means of practicing their different religions. Because of the wide influx of both Arab, African, and Western European Christians who have made the UAE their home, there is now a beautiful assortment of different churches representing almost every Christian community in the country. Although relatively untouched by the millions of tourists who visit the country annually, here are the most beautiful churches in the UAE that you just have to visit!
The Russian Orthodox Church located in Sharjah, a 20 minute drive from Dubai, is the biggest church in the country. With its beautiful ornate blue domes, rich symbolism and images inside the church, it’s well worth visiting no matter what your faith is. While it is usually open only during the evenings, it is most crowded on Sunday; seating up to more than 20,000 worshippers on holidays!
This church was founded and built by no other than Dubai’s Muslim ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in an offering of goodwill towards the many Catholics who have made Dubai their home. Open every day from 5 am to 9.30 pm, this has become a center point for Catholics from around the country.
An orthodox church built for its Greek-speaking Christian communities, this beautiful place of worship will take you straight to Greece! With its colorful paintings, rich imagery, and incense-perfumed prayer halls, this Orthodox church will leave you wanting to stay the entire day. Something to keep in mind though – the languages spoken here are mainly only Greek and Arabic, so it’s best to bring someone who can speak one of them.
This beautiful cathedral highlights another prominent Christian community resident in the UAE – the mostly south Indian expats who have come to the country bringing their rich Christian traditions with them. The cathedral itself doesn’t have pews and instead its worshipers sit on the softy carpeted ground, and along with its Orthodox services of solemn processions and incense, you’ll come away with a whole new appreciation for the beauty of churches. Again, English is not the main language spoken here to take care to show respect.
One of the more international churches in the country, this Baptist Church offers its services in English and boats some of the most diverse array of worshippers. With Friday and Sunday services, Bible studies, and youth camps, this church offers something for even those who are just merely curious. True to its tradition, this church will also offer their praise to God through singing, something many who are not part of this denomination have traveled to just to witness.
This church was built for the country’s growing Armenian population, who practice their own form of Christianity different to the Orthodox or Catholic Church. With its traditional Armenian architecture, this church boasts services in the Armenian language; and is the place that almost all Armenians in the country go to for baptisms, marriages, funerals, and holidays. Stepping inside this peaceful church (when they’re not having a colorful Armenian wedding), everyone will be able to appreciate its beauty no matter what background you come from.
A full on gospel church located in the middle of Dubai, this international church will be an exciting experience for anyone to visit. It boast seminars, international events and large conferences. Its members continue to grow in number as more and more expats move to Dubai.