There are so many things I like about living in Abu Dhabi.
For starters, an abundance of excellent food, well constructed infrastructure and the general sensibility of people in charge.
“What do you mean?”
Well, Abu Dhabi is always on the lookout for ways to increase tourists to the emirate. Instead of building something tall, glitzy and death defying, they play on their strengths of heritage, culture and history. So what do they come up with? This magical looking piece of art…
What is it?
This is the Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi. It is a permanent national tribute to His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the man who brought the emirates together and created the UAE. The memorial opened earlier this year to mark 100 years since Sheikh Zayed’s birth. When you go you’ll find an incredible portrait of Sheikh Zayed, made up of hundreds of points of light. Called ‘The Constellation’. The Constellation is made up of more than 1300 geometric shapes suspended on more than 1000 cables. At night, these shapes shine like stars, evoking the timelessness of Sheikh Zayed’s vision as a guiding light for the UAE people.
Why should I visit it?
Well to be quite straightforward- its breath-taking and you’d be a fool not visit it! Its also FREE and educational so really, could you ask for more? The landscape of The Founder’s Memorial features plants and shrubbery indigenous to the UAE and the Arabian Peninsula which is known as the Sanctuary Garden. Its the perfect place to sit, reflect and maybe have a chat with friends while the sun goes down. Oh and I shouldn’t forget to mention that complimentary tours from trained guides are available in both Arabic and English.
When should I visit it?
Ideally you would go at a time when you can see the installation during the day for the “Well this is nice!” effect and then also watch it light up at night for the “Bloody hell this is spectacular!” moment. While the sunset view is nothing to write home about (head further down to Emirates Heritage Village for that incredible shot), its still worth a visit during that time especially when the winter is cooler and there are clouds in the sky which makes for pretty photos.
Are there any rules?
-No eating or drinking (but drinking water is allowed)
-Best to avoid PDA
-No dress code so wear whatever you feel like!
-Tripods are allowed
This is a fabulous place to learn about Sheikh Zayed and the history of the UAE through art, landscape, words, stories and multimedia experiences. But more than that its a site worth visiting because it has a peaceful ambience and showcases an incredible piece of art. I personally, am loving this new addition to the city’s skyline!
- The Founder’s Memorial is free to the public and open daily from 9.00am to 10.00pm.
- Free visitor parking is available at the site and is accessible from 18th street.
- On foot, the site can also be accessed from the Corniche.