Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan transformed Abu Dhabi 
into cultural hub

The new UAE President is behind transforming the Abu Dhabi 
emirate into a vibrant place for culture and creative activities


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 15 May 2022, 11:27 AM

Last updated: Sun 15 May 2022, 11:56 AM

The UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a patron of art who has played an inspiring role in transforming the emirate of Abu Dhabi into a hub for culture and creative pursuits in the Arab world and beyond. He was instrumental in building the Saadiyat Cultural District, a forum for global culture that aims to welcome local and international visitors to exhibitions, galleries, and live performances.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

It’s the first-of-its-kind art museum in the Middle East that embodies the spirit of tolerance and intercultural dialogue while celebrating the region’s multicultural heritage. The museum has acquired more than 620 works of art, including important artworks on loan from 13 leading museums in France. Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by the 2008 Pritzker Prize-winning French architect, Jean Nouvel, who envisioned a museum city, or Arab medina, under a vast silvery dome.

The museum was built in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement signed between the UAE and France in 2007, that includes the loan of the Musee du Louvre’s name for 30 years and six months, temporary exhibitions for 15 years, and loans of artworks for 10 years.

Qasr Al Hosn

The oldest and most significant building in the capital, Qasr Al Hosn, is a museum that tells the city’s story and its people.

Qasr Al Hosn includes Abu Dhabi’s first permanent structure — a coral and sea stone watchtower, built to protect the settlement of Abu Dhabi established on the island in the 1760s.

Over the centuries, it has been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, a consultative council and a national archive; it now stands as the nation’s living memorial and the narrator of Abu Dhabi’s history through objects, artefacts, and archival material.

Manarat Al Saadiyat

Translated as ‘the place of enlightenment’, Manarat Al Saadiyat is an arts and culture centre located on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island that welcomes visitors to discover the collections of renowned international and local artists. It is also home to Abu Dhabi Art, an annual art fair.

Zayed National Museum

The nation’s first national museum will highlight the life and achievements of the nation’s Founding Father and first president, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who passed away in 2004. It will also bring to life the rich history of the UAE, its place in the region and its cultural connections across the world.

Housed in a striking building designed by leading architect Lord Norman Foster, the museum will showcase Sheikh Zayed’s story and his lasting influence with permanent gallery displays and a dynamic exhibition programme. The Zayed National Museum will also stand as a symbol of the UAE’s modernity and incredible progress in recent years.



Designed by 1989 Pritzker-prize winning architect Frank Gehry, the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum is a collaboration between the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Set to be the region’s pre-eminent museum of global modern and contemporary art, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi fosters a deeper understanding of how different art perspectives have shaped our time’s interconnected histories and cultures.

Dedicated to robust education and community outreach, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will advance the study and interpretation of global modern and contemporary art.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi reflects the UAE’s vision as a cultural hub in the region and a place of exchange. The museum plays a civic role through its mission to spark wider interest and awareness of global modern and contemporary art while offering a creative platform for artists worldwide.

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