Qasr Al Watan or Palace of the Nation is an exquisitely designed architectural monument that pays tribute to the region’s Arabic heritage and artistry.
This huge new monument to the traditions and culture of the region sits on the south eastern tip of the Abu Dhabi Island close to the Emirates Palace.
Apart from becoming the most important tourist attraction in Abu Dhabi after it opened its doors to the public in 2019 it’s a working Palace, home to the UAE Supreme Council and Federal Cabinet. It hosts state visits and official summits and is steeped in the nation’s history and culture. It’s the perfect place to learn more about the UAE’s rich heritage.
From its imposing gates to the visitor center and the great structure itself there is so much to see and experience that will one’s senses are completely overwhelmed.
The Palaces exteriors are pure white constructed from granite and limestone built to withstand the local climate and remain fresh for decades. Its white coloring was chosen to symbolize peace and purity while reflecting Gulf traditions of light-colored buildings to reflect heat.
So, what is there to see and do, once you drive in thru the imposing gateway you drive thru a well laid out garden and park in the extensive parking by the Visitors Center. Parking is free and they also have a paid valet service along with golf carts to take you to the Visitor Center.
At the Visitor Center you are greeted warmly and served the traditional Arabic Coffee Gahwa with dates. Here you can buy your tickets if nor purchased online, check in any baggage and proceed by bus to the main Palace.
There is no fixed itinerary or a guided tour and you get to go and see all the public areas on your own, the place is well signposted so you can learn about what you are looking at.
The Great Hall
You enter thru the huge doors straight into the Great Hall, the architectural heart of the Palace Measuring 100 meters long by 100 meters wide, its main dome is one of the largest in the world, with a diameter of 37 meters.
The architecture and the detailing is just out of this world with hand crafted detail and gold inlay and the view up of the dome is breathtaking.
The Majlis Room
The Al Barja Majlis or meeting room is the second largest room in the Palace that is where guest would be formally welcomed in the traditional Emirati Tradition, with this seating capacity of over 300 p3eople it’s an amazing place to see.
Spirit of Collaboration Room
This is the official meeting place of the Federal Supreme Council, The Arab League and many other important bodies. You can soak in the atmosphere, admire the huge chandelier and get an insight into how the UAE is governed.
House of Knowledge
Here you get to see the Palaces huge collection of rare manuscripts and artefacts that document the Arab Worlds contributions to the various fields of art, humanities and science.
Presidential Gifts Gallery
In this Gallery are all the gifts, medals and souvenirs received by the USE from foreign dignitaries over the ages, there are some truly fascinating things to see and enjoy.
The Presidential Banquet Hall is where official guests are hosted and can experience Emirate Hospitality and traditions. Service is on custom made silver crystal and china made especially for the Palace. It is said the service includes over 100,000 pieces. The Prime Minister of India was hosted here during his last visit.
The Power of Words
Just besides The Great Hall is this beautiful gold structure called the ‘Power Of Words’. Designed by local artist Mattar Bin Lahej, this installation features interlaced words from an Arabic quote by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayan that says “Wealth is not money or oil, wealth lies in people and it is worthless if not dedicated to serve the people.”
The Qasr Al Watan Library houses an impressive collection of more than 40,000 titles, documenting the nation’s history, focusing on archaeology, history, culture, literature and the arts. A digital collection of more than 16 million items is also available. It has its own special entrance and can be accessed free of charge.
Palace in Motion Light Show.
This is the finale of your visit, a 15-minute sound and light show that is projected over the palace at 7.30 PM showcasing the UAE’s past, resent and future in three acts. It is a dazzling compilation of art, light an music which is a must see.
The Palace has two sit down multi cuisine restaurants, there is also a Café and a takeaway place you can get snacks and beverages as well with some outdoor seating too. There is a neat little Souvenir Shop too for you to get something from the Palace for your home.
Opening Hours & Tickets
The Palace, though currently closed to visitors would normally be open from 10 AM to 8 PM and tickets start at AED 60 that can be purchased online or at the visitor center as well.
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Contact Details – +971-600-544-442 / [email protected]
Website – https://www.qasralwatan.ae/