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Al Ain Palace Museum




Al Ain Palace Museum

Al Ain is in the Al Rabina district, the city center on the western side of the Al Ain Oasis

Al Ain Palace Museum is a lofty edifice that educates different generations about the lives of the distinguished rulers of the UAE. It also spreads Emirati culture and heritage at home and abroad.

  1. As referenced in Directory of governmental and private museums in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf - General Secretariat - 1429 AH - 2008 AD: The construction of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Palace dates back to 1937 and is located in the city centre on the western side of the Al Ain Oasis. It is built on a plot of land with an area of more than 15,000 square meters. Its construction was completed after several phases that started in 1356 AH corresponding to 1937 AD, and ended in 1419 AH corresponding to 1998 AD. Some additional structures were added to it at different periods of time, from the mid-fifties until the early seventies. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ordered that it be turned into a museum in 1998 AD, and it was officially opened on the first Wednesday of Safar 1422 AH, corresponding to the 25th of April 2001.

  2. In a local publication entitled ‘Sheikh Zayed Palace’ issued by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage - Intangible Heritage Department – 2008, detailing the contents of the structure:

    The museum building consists of two floors, and includes the Sheikh Zayed pavilion, the halls, the family residence and the administrative department. This building was the residence of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in Al Ain between the years 1937 and 1966. The outer courtyards of the building enclose many halls where the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan would receive prominent regional figures as well as foreign visitors. The buildings are cooled by wide, square-shaped balconies that would provide shade to the main rooms and windows.

    The side areas that were reserved for local visitors are traditionally furnished with floor cushions, while the guest areas reserved for foreigners are Western in character. Separate spaces were also allocated near the reception areas for women where the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's wife would receive guests.

    There is also a coffee room that would ensure the quick service of guests by serving all kinds of drinks, dates and food in accordance with Arab customs. A pantry and kitchen are also located in the inner courtyard, adjacent to the well. The model of the large tent in the palace square represents the great and lasting connection with authentic Bedouin life, as the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was proud to receive his guests in this tent in accordance with the traditions of Arab hospitality and generosity. Among the other symbols in this museum is the "Land Rover" model, which the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had long used to cruise the desert, visiting the tribes and learning about their conditions and circumstances. During the restoration of the palace, two towers were added on both sides of the main entrance, which were built similar to the multi-storey tower of the Jahili Fort.

  3. And in an interview with Mr. Mohammad Ahmad Khoury and his son Ismail on 16/10/2012 in his house in Al Mutawaa neighborhood in Al Ain:

    He spoke of the restoration and construction of the palace in which he participated during the 1960s. He noted that the palace contained rooms for housing, halls for receiving people and servants’ quarters. It was later supplied with electricity with generators brought in from Dubai.


Museum Holdings

The Al Ain Palace Museum houses a collection of heritage materials that represent the ancient lifestyle of the ruling family in the city of Al Ain, including pictures of the noble family and family trees that illustrate the ancient origins of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s dynasty. In addition, it includes a study chamber that contains a set of tables and old boards, where the children of the ruling family were taught by private tutors. Another room was designated for teaching and memorizing the Holy Qur’an.

Entity to which it belongs

The museum belongs to the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi and includes an administrative staff and a number of employees.

Visiting hours:

The Al Ain Palace Museum opens its doors to tourists and visitors from 8 am to 7.30 pm every day of the week except for Monday, which is designated for cleaning and maintenance work, as well as the morning period on Friday, where the museum is operational from 3 pm to7:30 pm. The museum also receives its visitors on public holidays and closes its doors on the first day of the Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha holidays, In addition, a directive is issued annually to outline the operational hours during the holy month of Ramadan. Entry is free of charge.

The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi has been keen to highlight everything related to the Emirati heritage. Many exhibitions are held, and numerous books and brochures are published that contain detailed explanations of the multiple and comprehensive aspects of our heritage and history. It is managed by the administrative staff and a group of qualified specialist employees. It also participates in international and local conferences, and in the many seminars that it holds where many citizens and residents get to participate.

The simplicity, beautiful gardens and palm trees are what distinguish this unique palace building, as well as the architectural features found in the most important historical buildings in the country. It has been successful in achieving the desired goal of its establishment and has been able to introduce the present generations to their local heritage and the daily life that their ancestors experienced. They have also contributed to the spread of the UAE culture globally. In essence, it is a true reflection of the country's culture before its transformation following the discovery of oil.


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