Qasr Al Muwaiji is a world heritage site. Image Credit: TCA Abu Dhabi

Al Ain: Qasr Al Muwaiji, the birthplace of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, officially opened its doors on Sunday as a museum in Al Ain.

Shaikh Tahnoun Bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region, inaugurated the fort in a traditional ceremony and was accompanied by dignitaries before touring the historic fort and the latest permanent exhibition which celebrates the President’s life.

The fort underwent an extensive conservation programme which originally started in the late 1970s. In 2009 the work was extended to include archaeological excavations, preservation measures and restoration interventions.

The excavation has discovered a number of artefacts that are now displayed in the museum, including coins dating back to the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries which suggest proof of trade in Al Ain area at that time.

The restored site is a combination of the original fort and a modern glass building which hosts the permanenet exhibition.

Ricardo Benn, project director from Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, told Gulf News, said “glass [was used] for a specific reason, we wanted the content to always be readable from every perspective. So, no matter where you are standing you always have views into the fort and you can enjoy the content too.”

A component of the Unesco World Heritage Site of Al Ain, the careful restoration has emphasised its original architectural features such as its freestanding minaret.

Qasr Al Muwaiji is a significant part of the UAE heritage as it was home to generations of the Al Nahyan family, and saw the birth of Shaikh Khalifa in 1948.

The fort functioned not only as a home and an oasis in the desert but also as a place of rule and a focus for the community.

The exhibition showcases a variety of historic and traditional stories associated with the venue, including significant moments of Shaikh Khalifa’s life from his early childhood, leadership and vast national achievements.

It also provides the public with an insight into the chronology of the members of Abu Dhabi ruling family associated with Qasr Al Muwaiji and progression of the Al Nahyan family.

More information on the museum can be found on qasralmuwaiji.ae