Highlights of Qasr Al Watan

By Huiming_Shi Wednesday, 04 December 2019 9:34 AM

Highlights of Qasr Al Watan

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About Qasr Al Watan:

  • Qasr Al Watan is a new cultural landmark housed within the Presidential Palace compound
  • Qasr Al Watan is a working palace that hosts official state visits and summits
  • The Palace hosts the Federal Supreme Council meetings and the UAE Cabinet meetings
  • At Qasr Al Watan, visitors gain a deeper understanding of the UAE’s governing traditions and values, and will be able to explore a well-preserved legacy of knowledge and tradition
  • Visitors can explore a vast collection of artefacts and manuscripts that highlight the Arab world’s contributions to various intellectual fields including science, arts, humanities and literature
  • It is also home to the Qasr Al Watan Library where scholars can explore a vast collection of books and resources about the UAE and learn about the nation’s progressive journey

About The Architecture & Design:

  • Qasr Al Watan reflects centuries of Arabian architectural design and tradition in a palace built for the 21st century
  • More than a traditional palace, Qasr Al Watan is an exquisitely crafted tribute to the region’s Arabian heritage and artistry; the architectural and interior design echo the significance of the exhibits housed within its walls and the function of its most iconic rooms
  • Qasr Al Watan is part of the 380,000-square-metre Presidential Palace compound
  • The Palace took 150 million man hours to build
  • The façade of the Palace is constructed from white granite and limestone built to last hundreds of years
  • The colour white was chosen as a symbol of purity and peace, and is also a reflection of the beige and white buildings that are often commonly found in coastal Gulf countries
  • 5,000 geometric, vegetal and floral patterns were used in The Palace. While they are all inspired by iconography and patterns of the Arab world, the patterns at Qasr Al Watan are unique to The Palace.
  • The doors of The Palace are made of solid maple which was chosen for its light colour and durability
    • The detailing is 23-carat French gold
    • The patterns are carved by hand
    • Each door took 350 hours to make

About the Visitor Journey:


The Great Hall:

  • Located at the heart of Qasr Al Watan, The Great Hall measures 100 metres by 100 metres
  • The highlight of The Great Hall is the main dome - one of the largest in the world, measuring 37 metres in diameter
  • In order to maintain the stature of The Great Hall, the space was divided into thirds: First skyline at 6.1 metres, second at 15.5 metres and the third at 21 metres
  • Visitors will be able to closely explore specific design elements of The Great Hall through four art installations - mirrored cubes that emphasise the hall’s architectural details, such as the diversity of patterns, and intricate craftsmanship invested in every single design


Spirit of Collaboration:

  • This room was designed to host meetings of the Federal Supreme Council, as well as meetings and summits of organisations such as the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

The Presidential Banquet:

  • Banquets in this hall are reserved for official occasions, but they are also an opportunity to extend Emirati hospitality to representatives of close nations and allies
  • 149,000 unique pieces of silver, crystal and china were made for The Palace

Presidential Gifts:

  • This exhibition showcases part of the collection of diplomatic gifts the UAE has received from foreign dignitaries during state visits
  • When choosing official gifts, the three main things that are taken into consideration are: culture, religion, and personal taste


House of Knowledge:

  • Within the House of Knowledge in the east wing, where visitors can explore an impressive collection of artefacts and manuscripts that highlight origins of libraries in the Arab world and its contributions to various intellectual fields including science, arts, humanities and literature
  • Visitors will be able to see a collection of manuscripts from across the Arab world spanning several centuries including The Birmingham Qur’an, The Atlas Manuscript on Astronomy and Explanation of Lamiat Al-Zukak on law and judiciary rules
  • Many of the manuscripts are rare - whether in terms of the subject, form or scarcity of copies
  • The collection housed in The Palace is regarded as a precious record of history which is now shared and preserved by Qasr Al Watan
  • In honour of the 2019 UAE Year of Tolerance, three holy books – the Holy Qur’an, the Holy Bible and the book of David’s Psalms are displayed together as a symbol of tolerance


  • Manuscripts housed at Qasr Al Watan include:


  • The Birmingham Qur’an
  • This manuscript is a replica of one of the earliest surviving records of the Holy Qur'an
  • This replica was presented to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in 2016 by Prince Charles of Wales
  • It is written in Hijazi, an early form of Arabic script
  • The original Birmingham manuscript was made in the Middle East in the earliest years of Islam and is today found at the University of Birmingham


  • The Atlas Manuscript on Astronomy
  • The Atlas manuscript contains astronomical tabulations, coloured drawings, and maps of the four sides of Earth as well as maps of ancient continents
  • The reproduction of the manuscript is thought to date back to the late 13th century AH


  • Explanation of Lamiat Al-Zukak on law and judiciary rules
    • This is a transcript of law studies and judicial practices
    • A rare manuscript, it was composed by Mohammed bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Dulaimi Alwerzazi Al-Der'ei who died in the year 1166 AH


  • The exhibition shows Arab contributions to human knowledge in the period of enlightenment known as the Arab Golden Age, which paved the way for the later European Renaissance
  • Displayed here is the first modern map of Arabia from 1561, by the Italian Giacomo Gastaldi. It uses information gathered by Portuguese explorers and is thought to be the earliest map to name Abu Dhabi
  • One of the masterpieces of the collection is the Historia Naturalis, an encyclopaedia comprising up to 20,000 facts, compiled by Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23–79 CE). It is the most important source for geographic and scientific knowledge in ancient times
  • The Power of Words sculpture, made of pure gold, is also located in the East Wing, facing the House of Knowledge. Designed and crafted by Emirati Mattar Bin Lahej, the cage-like sculpture is a quote by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
  • The quote reads: “Wealth is not money or oil, wealth lies in people and it is worthless if not dedicated to serve the people.”
  • Two more Power of Words sculptures, presented in silver, are on display in the Gardens.


Palace in Motion: A Light and Sound Show

  • In the evening, visitors can enjoy a magnificent light and sound show, which is projected onto the façade of the iconic building
  • 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 Palace in Motion show starts at 7:45 PM for a duration of 15 minutes
  • Visitors are also able to enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens that surround Qasr Al Watan


Abu Dhabi Police’s Music Band -‘The Symphony of the Nation’:

  • Enjoy live performances by the 'Symphony of The Nation', playing classical Emirati music while marching through Qasr Al Watan. ... On Weekends and on public holidays, the band would not play in the palace
  • Performance will take place daily Sunday – Thursday
  • In honour of special events such as national days, they play the national anthem for visiting dignitaries
  • Their main songs include The Home of Zayed, Men, Our Leader, The Beautiful One and Shore of the Dears


Opening Hours & Tickets:

  • Qasr Al Watan is open seven days a week from 10:00 AM – 7:15 PM
  • Tickets can be bought daily at the visitor centre from 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM and online from the official Qasr Al Watan website - www.QasrAlWatan.ae 


  • Standard General Admission ticket prices:
  • AED 60 for adults, AED 30 for children under 17


  • Standard Guided Tours
  • Also known as the ‘Journey of a Nation Tour’: A complete and comprehensive 60-minute-long tour that explores the majestic hallways of Qasr al Watan as you delve into fascinating exhibitions and artefacts
  • To book this tour, visitors need to purchase a Palace and Garden ticket – AED 60 plus the Standard Guided Tour ticket – AED 30 per visitor, total AED 90 per Adult and AED 60 for children under 17 for the Standard Guided Tours
  • A scheduled tour conducted by a tour guide is available every 30 mins for groups of up to 30 people (available in the following languages: English, Arabic, Russian and Mandarin)


  • Private Guided Tours
  • Dedicated tour guide (available in the following languages: English or Arabic)
  • Price: Visitors need to purchase a Palace and Garden ticket - AED60 per visitor plus AED600 for the Private Guided Tour for up to 20 visitors
  • Tour duration: approx. 60 mins


  • Architectural Craftsmanship Tour:
    • A brief but informative 30-minute tour that explores the key features of Qasr al Watan and its magnificent Arabian Artistry for AED 20 per person


Qasr Al Watan Library:

  • The Palace houses the Qasr Al Watan Library where scholars can explore a vast collection of books and resources about the UAE’s political, social and cultural history and learn about the nation’s progressive journey
  • Today, the collection of The Library is vast, including circa 50,000 books and a total of 483,937 titles
  • The Library houses examples of Travelogues on History, Architecture, Biology and Ethnography
  • The publications housed within the Qasr Al Watan Library originate from cultural institutions, research centres, ministries, and UAE publishers, covering a wide range of fields including archaeology, history, culture, literature, arts and other humanities
  • The Library also features a Digital Library collection of over 16 million items, which can be accessed online from anywhere within the emirate of Abu Dhabi
  • Visitors can access The Library free of charge through a separate entrance upon registration at the Visitor Centre


The Gallery:

  • Guests will get the chance to view the latest addition to the Qasr Al Watan Tour, The Gallery, a digital photo exhibition. Visitors can step back in time and relive some of the most significant highlights of the Year of Tolerance, including never-before-seen photos from the Papal Visit and the Special Olympics Abu Dhabi
  • The exhibition includes images of Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, His Eminence Dr. Ahmad Al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of the Al Azhar Al Sharif visiting Qasr Al Watan, and more



Qasr al Watan features an array of three dining options:


Al Fowala:

  • Visitors have the chance to enjoy a coffee and a sweet treat in an elegant and relaxed setting
  • Open daily from 10:30am – 7:00pm


Dhiyafat Qasr Al Watan

  • Offering International cuisine with Arabic, Western, Asian and European tastes, this outlet is perfect for visitors looking for light meals and sharing dishes for any time of the day
  • Open daily from 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM



  • Serves light snacks and a wide selection of beverages
  • Open daily from 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM