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April 3, 2020

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The historic Qasr Al Muwaiji – birthplace of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE – has been restored to its former glory and reopened to the public as a museum and permanent exhibition.

Located in the centre of Al Ain city, Qasr al Muwaiji is an impressive structure that has watched over the oasis for more than 100 years. Built in the early 20th century, this simple but striking building was originally used as a diwan (a council or seat of governance) and as a place for the community to congregate.
The palace
In 1946, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Father of the Nation, moved to Qasr Al Muwaiji, making the palace his diwan, and his family home. His eldest son, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was born at Qasr al Muwaiji two years later, and spent much of his youth there, learning from his father.

When Sheikh Zayed became the Ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966, both he and his son Sheikh Khalifa moved to Abu Dhabi. At around this time, the palace was abandoned and its buildings’ condition deteriorated over time, and for some years it was used as a date plantation. But a number of phases of restoration, culminating with this regeneration project, have made Qasr Al Muwaiji a thriving place of sharing and learning once again.

The restoration
Since 2008, a project of restoration and archaeological excavation has preserved the fabric of Qasr Al Muwaiji and revealed evidence for the development of the palace through history.

The conservation team employed traditional methods and materials in the restoration of Qasr Al Muwaiji’s structure, whilst leaving as much as possible in place, in order to create a place of learning, appreciation and sharing the knowledge behind the preservation of one of Al Ain’s most significant palaces.

This diverse team of specialists has worked together to create a distinctive exhibition at Qasr Al Muwaiji, respecting its past and safeguarding it for the future.

The exhibition
Qasr Al Muwaiji embraces a remarkable exhibition, which stands today as the realisation of the work and efforts of numerous experts, such as archaeologists, conservators, architects, historians and curators.

The exhibition, housed in an elegant glass-walled space within the courtyard of Qasr al Muwaiji, tells the story of the palace and its inhabitants.

Beyond the main exhibition space, visitors can also experience the historic buildings and impressive courtyard of Qasr al Muwaiji.

Qasr Al Muwaiji welcomes adults and families to visit throughout the year. If you are interested in a guided tour for individuals or groups, please call +971 3 767 4444 or email reservations@qasralmuwaiji.ae to make a booking.

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