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Qasr Al Watan

Since it opened its doors to the public for the very first time in March 2019, Qasr Al Watan has solidified its position as one of the UAE’s most unique cultural landmarks. Considered one of the only working palaces in the world, the Palace of the Nation covers an astounding 380,000 square meters within the Presidential Palace complex. Within the complex are wings allocated for the President, Vice President and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, located behind the main building. 

The journey begins with visitors being transported up the Ceremonial Path, where they can enjoy a glance of the beautifully landscaped gardens that surround the Palace. For many visitors, the most memorable moment of their visit is when the Palace comes into full view in all of its architectural grandeur. Right away, visitors will notice the exterior façade, with its dazzling white granite and limestone, built to last hundreds of years, in addition to the sheer size of the Central Dome, which visitors will have the chance to explore more once inside the palace.

The journey begins with a special photo opportunity in the Palace’s dedicated Media Room, taken by a professional photographer. Here, visitors can step inside the shoes of official state representatives, with the Room emulating the same briefing experience that foreign dignitaries witness during their visits. 

At the West Wing of the Palace, visitors can learn about the UAE’s system of governance and the nation’s founding fathers, including exclusive access to rooms that were once reserved for foreign dignitaries. The Presidential Gifts room displays more than a 100 diplomatic gestures of goodwill the UAE has received from countries across the globe. 

Next on the tour is the Spirit of Collaboration, where national and regional leadership summits are hosted. As the official location where the UAE Cabinet and the Federal Supreme Council convene, visitors can learn more about the protocols for these high-level meetings. This room is also known for its magnificent, 350,000-crystal chandelier, designed to prevent the echoes in the room. The final room in the West Wing is the Presidential Banquet, where the UAE hosts officials from around the globe as part of official state visits. This room features 149,000 pieces of silver, crystal and china specifically designed for Qasr Al Watan.

Moving to the East Wing, visitors will discover the Power of Words sculpture located facing the House of Knowledge Exhibition. The gold-plated sculpture was designed by Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej, and represents a quote by the founding father which reads: “Wealth is not money or oil, wealth lies in people and it is worthless if not dedicated to serve the people.” 

The sculpture was designed for visitors to step inside and discover the masterpiece from a different perspective; this piece of art also has two additional silver sculptures as part of the series on display in the Gardens, each one representing a different quote by the late founding father. The first quote that reads, “Science and history walk side by side. By using science, man can record his history and preserve it for generations to come, so others may learn from it and come to know what their ancestors achieved.” The second quote reads, “The education of our people is a great wealth. We are proud of our educated nation because through knowledge and science we will open the horizon to a glorious future.”

Facing the Power of Words sculpture is the House of Knowledge Exhibition where visitors can explore the valuable artifacts and rare manuscripts that shed light on the Arab region’s most notable contributions to astronomy, science, art, and more. 

Once the tour is complete, visitors exit the Palace through the Visitor’s Center where they can purchase a memento before stepping outside to enjoy the unparalleled beauty of the Gardens and Abu Dhabi skyline. When the sun sets, that’s the cue for the evening entertainment to commence.

The Palace’s entertainment includes a magnificent evening light and sound show, the ‘Palace in Motion’. A story told in three acts, the show draws a link between the aspirations of Qasr Al Watan and the vision of the nation, reflecting on the UAE’s journey of the past, present and future. The show starts after sunset every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for a duration of 15 minutes. 

Qasr Al Watan promises a unique visual experience for those looking to gain a deeper understanding of the UAE’s journey and vision for the future. The exquisite experience at the Palace of the Nation is truly unlike any other, for visitors of all ages to explore time and time again. With its architectural marvels, artistic wonders and historical legacy, one visit to Qasr Al Watan is never enough.

Qasr Al Watan has worked alongside the relevant authorities to implement stringent precautionary measures throughout the Palace including thermal screening cameras, safe distance markers at all rooms and exhibits, as well as modified dining and shopping experiences. 

Qasr Al Watan is open on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00AM to 6:00PM and Thursday to Saturday from 12:00PM to 7:30PM. Tickets can be bought daily from official Qasr Al Watan website. To book, or find out for more information visit www.QasrAlWatan.ae.