“Qasr Al Watan is more than a palace, it’s a structural milestone.” Qasr Al Watan
Abu Dhabi’s newest cultural landmark Qasr Al Watan, located inside the majestic Presidential Palace, is now open to the public. It’s a place to marvel at exquisite Arabian architecture and design while glimpsing into the history and culture of the UAE.
The interior is a mix of sandy desert colours complimented by crisp whites and Arabian Gulf blues displayed in the labyrinth of ornate corridors and large spaces that are awash with opulent gold features, glistening marble and sparkling chandeliers. The domes, arches and geometric patterns are quite a sight to behold. Qasr Al Watan (Palace of the Nation) offers visitors ten different areas to catch a glimpse into Arabian heritage and creativity. Four futurist mirrored cubes in the Great Hall sit under the largest dome and offer an insight into the architectural features of the space.
There are ten zones including the House of Knowledge in the East wing that has a collection of artefacts, rare books and manuscripts, the West wing has exhibits detailing the formation of the UAE governance. Peak inside the Spirit of Collaboration chamber where official heads of states and governments hold official summits. The Majlis (Al Barza) is where cultural, political and social gatherings take place and where visitors can enjoy a multimedia show. Other interests include calligraphy, a gold lattice-inspired sculpture, displays of presidential gifts from world leaders and a banqueting room set-up for a royal ceremonial dinner.
Housed in a separate building, The library has a large collection of over 50,000 books and resources collected over the last thirty-five years covering a range of subjects. Every evening there’s a light and sound show, ‘Palace in Motion’ that’s projected on the building’s facade. This is the first time that part of the Presidential Palace compound, which also houses the formal offices of the President and other dignitaries, has been opened to visitors.
Qasr Al Watan
Location: Al Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi
Opening Times: Daily 10:00am – 08:00pm
Prices: Palace & Garden Ticket (access to the Palace, the Gardens, Visitor Centre and all zones, exhibitions and public spaces) Adults AED 60 and Juniors AED 30
Visitor Information: Parking is free. Valet parking is available for AED 80. Various dining options are available from elegant dining to the more reasonable grab and go options. There are two gift shops with souvenirs and regionally inspired luxury goods.
Guided Tours are available every 30 minutes for individuals and groups.
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2019. All rights reserved.