Arts & CultureAbu Dhabi

Inside Qasr Al Watan.

Four fascinating facts about the Palace of the Nation.

With a dazzling view of the Arabian Sea and architecture that pays tribute to Arabian heritage and artistry, Qasr Al Watan has made a name for itself as a must-see cultural landmark in Abu Dhabi. The only Palace of its kind in the MENA region, Qasr Al Watan invites the world to discover the UAE’s past, present and future through a vast collection of artefacts, rare manuscripts, and more through its various exhibits and rooms. 

A visit to Qasr Al Watan is truly unparalleled; but just how unique is the Palace of the Nation? Here are some quick facts about Qasr Al Watan that may surprise you.

It rivals one of England’s most famous landmarks. 

Buckingham Palace is not only the home of the British royal family, but it is also known as one of the world’s largest palaces covering over 77,000 square meters. In comparison, Qasr Al Watan covers an astounding 380,000 square meters within the Presidential Palace complex, which is around 4.9 times the size of Buckingham Palace! 

Its interiors will make you look all the way up! 

As Qasr Al Watan is referred to as ‘Versailles of the Middle East’, it is only fitting that our next fact refers to one of France’s most infamous monuments: L’Arc de Triomphe. Formerly named Place de l’Étoile, L’Arc de Triomphe stands with an archway at a height of 49 meters. One of Qasr Al Watan’s most striking features, the Central Dome located in the Great Hall, stands 60 meters above the ground – making it 11 meters taller than L’Arc de Triomphe.

Doors for days. 

Did you know that on average, it takes five hours to build a door? Made out of solid maple and carved by hand, each door at the Palace took 350 hours to create – 70 times longer than the average door. The details and intricacies at Qasr Al Watan are simply astounding. 

Wise words that stand the test of time. 

Suppose you’ve perused the grounds at Qasr Al Watan. In that case, you’ll know that there are two silver Power of Words sculptures located in the Gardens, but did you know that each one showcases a different set of words from the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan? The first quote reads:

“Science and history walk side by side. By using science, man can record his history and preserve it for generations to come, so others may learn from it and come to know what their ancestors achieved.”

The second quote reads: “The education of our people is a great wealth. We are proud of our educated nation because through knowledge and science, we will open the horizon to a glorious future.”

If you haven’t already, don’t miss the chance to observe these marvels for yourself on your next visit to Qasr Al Watan. The Palace is open Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 6pm and 12pm to 7:30 pm from Thursday to Saturday. 

GO: Visit www.qasralwatan.ae for boookings and more information.

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David Tapley - Editor
Dubai-based editor for one of the region’s most fiercely local lifestyle publications across Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and Qatar. Specialised in food, hospitality, arts, culture, and travel-related content.

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