The new cultural landmark in Abu Dhabi is now open to the public. Housed within the Presidential Palace compound, Qasr Al Watan is a working palace that hosts official state visits, summits and a number of high profile events including Federal Supreme Council and UAE Cabinet meetings.
At our sneak peak on opening day, we gained a deeper understanding of the UAE’s governing traditions and values, and were able to explore the vast collection of artefacts and manuscripts that highlight the Arab world’s contributions to various fields including science, arts, humanities and literature.
It is also home to the Qasr Al Watan Library where there are a vast collection of books and resources focusing on the UAE.
In terms of design, Qasr Al Watan reflects centuries of Arabian architectural design and tradition in a palace built for the 21st century, with 5,000 geometric, vegetal and floral patterns. 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 outside is just as impressive. The façade of the Palace is constructed from white granite and limestone which lasts hundreds of years. The colour white was chosen as a symbol of purity and peace and as a stark contrast to the beige coloured buildings that are often found in the gulf.
The doors of The Palace are made of solid maple which was chosen for its light shade and durability and the detailing uses 23-carat French gold with hand carved patterns. Each door took 350 hours to make and Qasr Al Watan itself, took 150 million hours in total to build!
What can you expect on your visit?
As soon as you step into those maple doors, you will see the Great Hall which measures 100 metres x 100 metres and is located at the heart of Qasr Al Watan. It also houses the main dome - one of the largest in the world, measuring 37 metres in diameter.
The are a number of areas you can view on your visit, including:
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
● This exhibition showcases part of the collection of diplomatic gifts the UAE has received from foreign dignitaries during state visits .
There is also Al Barza, House of Knowledge and Palace in Motion which is a magnificent light and sound show which will be projected onto the façade of the iconic building.
Opening Hours & Tickets:
● Qasr Al Watan is open seven days a week from 10 AM - 8 PM
● Tickets can be bought daily at the visitor centre from 9.30 AM until 7.00 PM and online from the official Qasr Al Watan website - www.QasrAlWatan.ae
Several types of admission tickets are available:
Standard General Admission ticket prices
Entry to the Palace and Garden: AED 60 for adults, AED 30 for children under 17
Entry to the Garden only: AED 25 for adults, and AED 12 for children under 17
Standard Guided Tours
A scheduled trip will be conducted by a tour guide every 30 mins (available in the following languages: English or Arabic)
Price: Visitors need to purchase a Palace and Garden ticket - AED60 plus the Standard Guided Tour ticket - AED30 per visitor, total AED 90 per Adult and AED 60 for children under 17 for the Standard Guided Tours
Tour duration: approx. 60 mins
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 from 1 up to 20 visitors
Tour duration: approx. 60 mins
They also have complimentary wheel chairs for those less able to walk and buggies to hire for babies and young children.
For more information head to www.qasralwatan.ae or check out their social media accounts on: @QasrAlWatanTour