Cultural overload in Abu Dhabi

Step back in time and look to the future with a trio of city landmarks that celebrate Abu Dhabi’s rich heritage and unbridled ambition

1. Qasr Al Watan. It’s not often the doors of a presidential palace are opened to the masses, and Abu Dhabi’s newest cultural destination takes visitors behind the veil of UAE governance. Take a guided tour through the palace’s lofty marble halls from The Great Hall and House of Knowledge to a library housing 50,000 prized tomes and the Spirit of Collaboration chamber, where UAE Cabinet meetings take place. This fascinating experience ends with a light and sound show projected onto the building’s iconic façade.

2. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. An architectural marvel capped with 82 gleaming white domes and bordered by four soaring minarets, its design captures Islamic motifs from different Muslim civilisations. One of the city’s top tourist attractions, visitors from all over the world come to wander by its reflective pools, gawp at the world’s largest (Swarovski-encrusted) chandelier and hand-knotted carpet, and be amazed at the sight of the central prayer hall and space for 40,000 worshippers. 

3. Louvre Abu Dhabi. The art anchor of Saadiyat Cultural District, this is the first universal museum outboard of France. The 9,200sqm Jean Nouvel-designed building is as unique as the collection it houses with its distinctive silvery lace dome the crowning glory. A growing corpus of works of historical, cultural and sociological significance currently includes paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet alongside a treasure trove of global artefacts dating back 400 years or more.

Photo: Qasr Al Watan

 

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