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Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi Overview

Zayed National Museum has been designed as a monument that will be constructed in the cultural district of Saadiyat Island. This construction aims to pay tribute to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father and the first president of UAE.

It endeavours to showcase the brilliant rise of the Arab Emirates from medieval tribal entities to a united federation that achieved socio-economic glory within a span of a few years. The history and culture would also be depicted at the museum. The primary objective of the authorities is to wipe out the differences between the different emirates and serve the local population and visitors by becoming a centre for cultural exchange and knowledge. The architects Foster + Partners have attempted to create a museum that celebrates the legacy of the founding fathers of UAE. The heritage and culture of the Arabian World are upheld through the structure. The completed museum aims to become a modern marvel; sustainable and welcoming at the same time.

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Zayed National Museum Layout

Zayed National Museum
The design for the museum was declared officially in 2010 with the King of Dubai, President and Prime Minister of UAE, as well as Queen Elizabeth II, looked on. The museum is likely to sport five tall thermal towers powered by solar energy that will double up as chimneys. The towers are expected to be shaped like a falcon-wing with each tower representing a feather in the wing. This part of the design was formulated, keeping Sheikh Zayed’s love for falconry in mind. An indoor area will be reserved for displaying live hunting birds thus commemorating a special hobby of the Sheikh. Each of the structure shaped like a feather will rise to a height of 125 meters housing a separate gallery that will showcase the history and culture of the land most effectively.  The museum is set amidst a landscaped garden with different parts depicting the timeline of the Sheikh’s life.

Galleries at the Zayed National Museum

The visitors are expected to cross into the main section of the museum via a magnificent bridge. There are five galleries at the base of each of the towers along with a vast exhibition gallery where the history, heritage and culture of UAE become evident. Each of the galleries is dedicated to a certain belief that was close to the Sheikh’s heart. One would, therefore, be able to witness his dedication and faith in things as diverse as education, heritage, local culture and conservation of nature. However, the confidence and belief of the Sheikh in his countrymen and their ideas resonate throughout the galleries.

Lined in Emirati textiles, the large auditorium houses multiple spaces are dedicated to live performances. The area in between is kept reserved for film shows and other cultural events as well as presentations. The expansive lobby covers contain shops, cafes, music & dance venues and spaces for reciting poetry and book readings.  Roaming around the area will transport individuals to the bygone era when Arabs ruled every inch of the desert. Here is a restaurant within the museum as well, fashioned according to the theme with the hospitality and opulence of a Bedouin captured perfectly here.


Visiting all the sections is estimated to take about 30 minutes
Guests need to plan their trip in advance for catching the spectacular performances at the auditorium
VIPs can enter the central courtyard

How To Reach Zayed National Museum

The museum is currently under construction in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, off the coast of Abu Dhabi. It can be reached by car or hired taxis within 20 minutes from Sheikh Zayed Mosque and in half an hour’s time from the International Airport of Abu Dhabi. Bus No. 11, 56 and 103 pass by the museum as well.

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