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Timings : 24 hrs, Visitors’ Centre: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Time Required : 1 - 2 hrs

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

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Wahat Al Karama, Abu Dhabi Overview

At Wahat Al Karama, visitors pay their respects to those who gave their lives for the greater good of the Emirates and continue to keep their memory alive. The site honours and shows gratitude to all the brave heroes who gave their lives in service to the United Arab Emirates since 1971. 

The name ‘Wahat Al Karama’ literally translates to ‘the Oasis of Dignity’, representing the essence of this memorial site. The name will remind the people of the sacrifices made to ensure freedom in the country. The Wahat Al Karama was the United Arab Emirates’ first permanent monument of commemoration for the armed forces. 

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Architecture and Design

The Wahat Al Karama Memorial Park, spread across 46,000 square metres, is situated to the east of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It houses the Memorial, the Pavilion of Honour, the Memorial Plaza, the Pool of Reflection and an amphitheatre.

The Wahat Al Karama memorial park was designed by British artist Idris Khan and was completed to coincide with Commemoration Day in the United Arab Emirates in 2015. He is greatly appreciated for his ability to merge architecture and design with art and literature and was awarded the American Architecture Prize for his design of the Wahat Al Karama in 2017. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar Art, he described the memorial park as, “a place to congregate and remember, a place to reflect emotions, a symbol of a country’s belief and support for their nation, to feel pride in the people who selflessly provide protection.

The Memorial

The memorial is built with thirty-one aluminium-clad tablets, each leaning on each other, which symbolises the unity and solidarity between the country and its people. It is inscribed with poems and quotes from several members of the royal family, including the founding father of the nation, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Pavilion of Honour

The Pavilion of Honour is a polygon structure, embedded into the ground. Its internal wall is lined with over 2,800 aluminium plates, on which the names and details of every hero of the United Arab Emirates is inscribed. These illuminated plates were made from vehicles used by the armed forces. The roof is built from eight slabs; seven of which symbolise the seven emirates of the country, and the eighth represents the brave heroes.

The Pavilion of Honour is inscribed with two passages of the holy book of Islam, the Quran, which can be seen at the entrance and at the top of the inside wall.
Pavilion of Honour, Wahat Al Karama

At the centre of the Pavilion lie seven glass panels, which represent the seven emirates of the country. Each of these is inscribed with the Pledge of Allegiance on the front and the back. This is surrounded by the pool of reflection, which is a circular pool of slow-moving water that is 15 millimetre deep. The pool contains a unique reflection of the Grand Mosque and the Memorial panels.

Memorial Plaza

The Memorial Plaza is an open circular ground of over 4,000 square metres, made of Turkish travertine stone. It provides clear views of the Memorial and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The plaza is surrounded by an open amphitheatre that can comfortably seat 1,200 people. The annual Commemoration Day ceremony is celebrated at the Memorial Plaza, after the pool of reflection is drained.

Visitors' Centre

It is the entry point for the visitors and provides clear views of the site, as well as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The visitors can opt to take the free tour if they wish to, which occurs twice a day – at 10:00 AM or 05:00 PM. They will be accompanied by a tour guide, who is well-versed with the history and features of the site.

How To Reach Wahat Al Karama

The Wahat Al Karama is located opposite the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, on 3rd street, in Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi. You can get here by bus, car or taxi. There is a car park adjacent to the site. For those choosing to travel by bus, you can take Bus 54 till Eastern Ring Road/Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and walk to Wahat Al Karama (240 metres away). There is also a free bus service connecting the two landmarks that runs every 30 minutes between 10:00 AM and 07:15 PM. One can make use of the pedestrian bridge nearby, for those who wish to visit the Grand Mosque as well as Wahat Al Karama.

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