Abu Dhabi Attractions: Museums

Abu Dhabi is working to become a regional center for cultural tourism by developing museums scattered around the city.

The Al Ain National Museum has a rich collection of ancient and modern artifacts and gives an overview of the UAE’s traditions and cultures, but the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (known colloquially as the ADACH), the government institution in charge of safeguarding, conserving and promoting the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi, is planning the development of additional museums to build cultural tourism. ADACH (adach.ae.), an organization with far-sighted aspirations, says the museums that are currently being built on Saadiyat Island will make it a world-class destination, to attract visitors and investment.

Tourism is a priority for Abu Dhabi; a pillar of the emirate’s 2030 vision to diversify the economy.

Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), which manages the authority’s tourism assets, believes the Saadiyat Cultural District (saadiyatculturaldistrict.ae/), just 500 meters off the coast of Abu Dhabi, is set to become an upscale destination to be completed in 2018. It will be one of the world’s most visited sites with Abu Dhabi’s newest museums (the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi) where visitors can appreciate heritage and culture.

  • Louvre Abu Dhabi will display works of historical, cultural and sociological significance from the most ancient to the most contemporary. Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel.
  • Zayed National Museum will feature the life and achievements of the founding President of the United Arab Emirates, the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. This will become a national museum founded in his memory. He is widely regarded as the ‘Father of the Nation’. The Zayed National Museum will open in 2016. Designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect, Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners.
  • Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will be dedicated to contemporary art and culture. Designed by Pritzer-prize winning architect Frank Gehry.
  • Maritime Museum will celebrate Abu Dhabi’s maritime heritage. An exhibit that will tell the story of the region’s seafaring history. Designed by Tadao Ando.

These museums are expected to make a vibrant addition to the regional, national and international cultural scene.

With the opening of these stunning museums, tourists can explore the history of the region, Arab art and maritime world, plus much more.

The Saadiyat Cultural District, which is a multi-faceted, natural island destination, is designed to give a unique experience and is expected to attract more tourists to the emirate. Meanwhile, in the works is the 1.2km-long service tunnel that will connect all the museums in the Saadiyat Cultural District and that will provide separate entrances and exits for each of them (Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim), explains Lee Kandalaft, the engineer charged with overseeing the tunnel’s delivery.

Once complete, the museums that will be built in the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island will position the Emirates as a leading international cultural destination.

Promoting the UAE capital as a cultural, sustainable destination worldwide is the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority that is the entity behind both, future and existing museums in the emirate. Those making their first-ever museum visit in the city will have much to admire and will explore a seamless continuation of the past into the future.

Abu Dhabi Attractions: Museums

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