Qasr Al Watan is unique cultural landmark in the heart of Abu Dhabi. It offers the world an insight into Arab heritage and the governing principles that shaped the history of the UAE and its vision to the future. With so much to absorb, here's a breakdown of Qasr Al Watan by numbers.
1. ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN
It took 150 million hours to build the Palace that’s the combined efforts of all the workers involved in its construction. There are 5,000 unique geometric and floral patterns that have been designed especially for decorating the Qasr Al Watan, inspired by iconography across the Arab world.
Each door in the Palace took 350 hours to construct. They’re made of solid maple, selected both for its pale colour and its durability. The detailing is carved by hand and embellished in 23-carat French gold.
2. THE GREAT HALL
The Great Hall is the largest room in the compound, measuring 100 metres long by 100 metres wide. It’s soaring dome is the architectural highlight, and one of the largest in the world, with a diameter of 37 metres. The room was designed to reflect a sense of vertical proportion by division in thirds, with the first skyline measured at 6.1 metres, the second at 15.5 metres and the third at 21 metres. There are four mirrored cubes that have been placed cleverly inside the Great Hall. The art installations allow visitors to view the room’s architectural detailing and intricate craftsmanship from a variety of perspectives.
3. SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION HALL
The hall features a 12-tonne chandelier as a centrepiece comprising 350,000 individual pieces of crystal. It 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.
4. PRESIDENTIAL BANQUET HALL
There are approximately 149,000 pieces of silver, crystal and china used to lay the table for official dinners in the Presidential Banquet Hall, when extending Emirati hospitality to representatives of close nations and allies.
5. PRESIDENTIAL GIFTS
There are three things to consider when choosing a presidential gift: culture, religion and personal taste. The Presidential Gifts collection at Qasr Al Watan is just a selection of the diplomatic gifts the UAE has received from dignitaries during state visits including carpets from Turkmenistan, an ornate sword and shield from Kazakhstan, armour from Japan and a beautiful khanjar from Oman.
6. HOUSE OF KNOWLEDGE
Located in the East Wing, the House of Knowledge contains an impressive collection of artefacts and manuscripts that highlight the origins of libraries in the Arab world. In one exhibit alone, the Historia Naturalis encyclopaedia, there are 20,000 facts as compiled by Roman scholar, Pliny the Elder. It is the most important source for geographic and scientific knowledge in ancient times.The collection is also exhibiting 3 holy books in honour of the 2019 UAE Year of Tolerance. The Holy Qur’an, the Holy Bible and the book of David’s Psalms are on display together as a symbol of tolerance.
7. THE LIBRARY
There are 50,000 books in Qasr Al Watan’s Library, covering the UAE’s political, social and cultural history which can be accessed free of charge once registered at the Visitor Centre. As well as books, there are many important resources that have been collected over the past 35 years, including magazines, pamphlets and periodicals bringing the total number of reading titles housed in the Library to 483,937. If you add the Library’s digital collection, there are more than 16 million items that can be accessed online from anywhere in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
8. PALACE IN MOTION SHOW
A 15 minute sound and light show is projected onto the facade of the building each evening at 7:30pm, reflecting on the UAE’s journey of the past, present and future.
• Qasr Al Watan is situated on a 380,000 square-metre site within the UAE’s Presidential Palace compound.
•There is only one ticket, 60AED general admission ticket (Qasr Al Watan Ticket) and children under 17 half price.
• Guided tours run for 60 minutes and cost AED30 on top of the admission price. They depart every 30 minutes and can be taken in either English or Arabic, mandarin or Russian. Private tours are also available on request and cost AED600 for up to 20 visitors.
For more info and buying your tickets online visit: https://www.qasralwatan.ae/en/booking