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A Wealth of Cultural Heritage

Celebrating, promoting and expanding Abu Dhabi’s rich cultural landscape and engaging with local and international communities

Through an extensive cultural programme including museum developments, temporary exhibitions and educational initiatives, the Department places this legacy in a global context, fosters cross-cultural understanding and promotes Abu Dhabi as a tourist destination. DCT Abu Dhabi is also responsible for protecting, conserving and managing archaeological and World Heritage sites, historic buildings, and cultural landscapes. These include the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Al Ain. 

DCT Abu Dhabi’s mission and objectives are aligned with the Abu Dhabi Plan, the emirate’s overarching growth and development strategy. This includes continuing to build Abu Dhabi as a thriving cultural centre that engages residents and tourists by preserving and presenting the United Arab Emirates’ rich cultural heritage and bringing the best of museums expertise, visual and performing arts programmes to the region.

DCT Abu Dhabi’s activities range from preserving the past – both recent and ancient – to shaping the emirate’s cultural future, and from expanding and enriching cultural tourism offerings to positioning Abu Dhabi as an inspiring destination for visitors from around the world. 

In building an understanding of Abu Dhabi’s history, DCT Abu Dhabi provides a deeper understanding of the country’s heritage that links people to their land and roots and provides a foundation to shape the future. 

Through Abu Dhabi’s archaeological sites, historic buildings, community centres, libraries and museums, DCT Abu Dhabi helps to narrate the story of the UAE’s cultural heritage and cultural scene while supporting community engagement and cultural dialogue. 

DCT Abu Dhabi maintains an ongoing programme of excavations and research that is uncovering findings that stretch humankind’s knowledge of the region, of the people who inhabited it millions of years ago, and of its role in maritime trade and commerce.

Abu Dhabi’s museums provide a home and place to interpret these historic and pre-historic findings. They help to expand art collections, provides a platform to develop cultural heritage and tourism, and supports the transfer of knowledge and professional development.

The National Library, through the establishment of regional, community, children’s and mobile libraries, contributes to community engagement. It also is the UAE’s largest knowledge repository and a vital resource for intellectuals, scholars and scientists. It acts as a publisher, translates the world's major literary works, and raises the profile of talented Emirati writers and researchers by publishing their books and academic works.

DCT Abu Dhabi plays a key role in preserving and nurturing the UAE’s intangible heritage such as music, poetry, dance, spoken word and traditional handicrafts. Intrinsic to the UAE’s cultural identity, these practices are being recorded, researched and showcased to safeguard this important heritage and encourage its transmission across the generations. 

At the same time as preserving the past, DCT Abu Dhabi acts as a cultural catalyst through its education and public engagement programme supporting and inspiring artistic and intellectual activity that responds to the present day and points the nation towards the future. 

Through community centres and libraries that offer classes, art and heritage workshops, cultural activities and programmes for all ages and in diverse cultural mediums, including a variety of visual and performing arts, DCT Abu Dhabi helps create a vibrant cultural scene and an innovative public engagement programme. 

Tangible and intangible heritage, visual and performing arts programmes and museums activities are all supported by interpretation and mediation tools designed to create awareness among different audiences, notably students and youth.

For more information on DCT Abu Dhabi, click here.