Understanding and appreciating the culture and history of the UAE is something worth doing whether you are a resident or visitor of the country and regardless of your age.
The United Arab Emirates is a nation that captivates the world with its towering skyscrapers, opulent resorts and luxurious lifestyles.
But beyond its modern façade lies a rich tapestry of culture and history that has shaped the identity of this remarkable country.
Because of this, understanding and appreciating the culture and history of the UAE is something worth doing whether you are a resident or visitor of the country and regardless of your age.
You can gain profound insights into their values, customs, and aspirations by learning about the country’s culture, heritage, traditions and historical milestones. You can also strengthen cross-cultural understanding and build a deeper connection with this remarkable land.
Signing up for a Qasr Al Watan tour is one of the best ways to delve into the rich, fascinating culture and history of the UAE.
Qasr Al Watan, or the Palace of the Nation in English, is the country’s official presidential palace. It is one of the most popular cultural landmarks and attractions in Abu Dhabi.
It is a part of the Abu Dhabi Presidential Palace grounds with exhibits that showcase and preserve the country’s legacies and cultural heritage.
What you’ll learn when you visit Qasr Al Watan
The palace is divided into zones where you can learn about various facets of the country’s culture and history.
Some of the zones where you can broaden your knowledge are:
1. The Great Hall
This zone is the centerpiece of the palace and the first area to visit when you arrive at Qasr Al Watan.
The Great Hall houses the Qasr Al Watan Library, which features a collection of 50,000 books from various ages of Arabian scholarship. These include rare manuscripts and documents about different subjects and topics.
You can also find here other literary resources such as dissertations, research articles, magazines, newspapers and e-books where you can learn more about the UAE’s history and culture.
This library was designed to help inspire and mold the future generation.
2. The house of knowledge
This zone features the achievements of the most renowned Islamic scholars and scientists in the UAE and region.
The House of Knowledge boasts some of the country’s rarest books, manuscripts and artifacts as well as historic works of calligraphy.
These displays highlight the Arab region’s important contributions to art, literature, science, astronomy and other fields.
Visiting The House of Knowledge can also help you understand the origins of Arabian libraries.
3. The hall of presidential gifts
This zone is an exhibit of gifts representing a legacy of goodwill, international diplomacy and cultural exchange between the country and the world.
The hall of Presidential Gifts gives you the chance to see first-hand some of the most cherished diplomatic gifts received by the UAE.
These significant presents include vases, daggers, swords and a piece of cloth that drapes the Holy Kaaba, which was given by Saudi Arabia.
During your visit here, you can also learn about the cultural considerations and protocols UAE officials follow in selecting, presenting and receiving diplomatic gifts.
4. The spirit of collaboration room
This zone, located on the palace’s west wing, is the official meeting venue of the Cabinet and Federal Supreme Council of the UAE. This room is also used to host official summits and events, such as the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The Spirit of Collaboration room has seen many officials and royals come together to discuss their ambition and visions and set these plans into action.
The circular layout of the room symbolizes the country’s commitment to equality and illumination.
While here, you can learn about diplomacy and meeting protocols the hosts and guests follow. Also, you can get a closer view of the iconic massive chandelier made with over 25,000 crystals.
5. The presidential Banquet
Qasr Al Watan gives you a first-hand look into the renowned Emirati hospitality through their banquet hall.
While at the Presidential Banquet, you can get an overview of the customs and protocols hosts and guests follow when dining.
You can also get a glimpse of the unique collections of silver, crystal and dining ware that make dining in this hall truly special.
You can get more details about visiting the palace by reading the Qasr Al Watan FAQs here.
The Qasr Al Watan school program
The Presidential Palace accepts school groups interested in learning more about the UAE’s culture and history.
The Qasr Al Watan school program blends learning and a memorable immersive cultural experience. Chaperones will guide the students as they go on a tour of the palace.
The chaperones share interesting facts about the palace and the country’s culture and heritage throughout the tour.
Students are also given activity books with facts and puzzles about the Palace so that they can have a more interactive and educational journey.
About Qasr Al Watan
Qasr Al Watan was formally opened to the public in 2019 by Sheikhs Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is located in Ras Al Akhdar near the Emirates Palace.