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Wednesday 29 January 2020

UAE2020 Day 09: Qasr Al Watan قصر الوطن

We arrived at the sprawling Qasr al Watan or UAE Presidential Palace at a quarter past 5. We had a look around and was amazed by its sheer size.

the Abu Dhabi skyline

So large was the place that electric carts were seen transporting visitors from the parking area to the Visitor's Centre. We duly hopped on one and were off.

an electric cart got us here

Security was tight and as soon as Ginny and Sern settled the tickets we were subjected to a security screening and scanning not unlike what one would be submitted to at airports. We were told that umbrellas were not allowed so Cat and Brendan had to deposit theirs in a locker that was provided. The security personnel looked sullen and stern that we didn't dare snap any photos.

We walked through the main hallway and was immediately immersed in the sheer size of the outer façade of this quite stunning palace. We spent a fair bit of time just taking in the breath-taking beauty of the palaces’ outer frontage.

see what we mean?

the magnificent palace framed by a beautiful sky

while Dubai is chic and cool, Abu Dhabi is majestic!

Ginny and Sern were rightly proud

approaching the entrance

the sheer size is overwhelming

to the right of the palace

and to its left

felt as though you could fit 10 football fields

the absolutely huge doors

We then walked into the Great Hall, where “visitors will gain a deeper appreciation of the region’s architectural and artistic legacy. From the central dome and archways to the ornamentation and mosaic patterns, The Great Hall is truly a sight to behold. Every visitor can also reflect upon the mesmerising details of The Great Hall by exploring the mirrored cubes positioned at every corner of this exquisitely crafted zone.”

the first thing we saw as we stepped in

we felt dwarfed

huge chandeliers above

imperial hallways

magnificence personified

an eminent view

stately and majestic

Cat was obsessed with this 'egg'

there were mirrored cubes

at every corner

even the washroom was regal

Cat finally managed to selfie with the egg

We also learnt that history was made during the Year of Tolerance (2019) when “His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, and His Eminence Dr Ahmad Al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of the Al Azhar Al Sharif, accepted the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to visit the country in February, marking an important step in interfaith relations between Muslims and Christians.”

entering another zone holding an exhibition

a thousand and one nights

the lion of the sea

a land of connections

royal arms?

staff and shield

ornaments depicting various animals

items on falconry

ah, we know that this is...

the royal coat of arms!

It is a fully functioning presidential Palace that covers a series of zones, each highlighting a unique aspect of the Palace’s many functions and features.

mirrored pedestals

stately grand ballroom

our necks were beginning to tire

comfortable armchairs outside the washrooms

delicate and intimate lighting

I had to lie down on the floor to get this shot

all four corners...

of the Grand Hall...

taken from the exact spot...

where I laid down earlier

a princely sum for this exquisite piece

a little too rich for our blood

But the main draw of the Palace has to be the light and sound show. We were later taken by bus to another area of the grounds where the Palace lights up the night with a spectacular light and sound show. A story told in three acts about the past, present, and the future vision of the nation.

as we waited for the light and sound show to begin

the anticipation heightened

We were able to take some videos of the light and sound show that hopefully did it some justice, and my arms were cramped after taken these footages:

What a show! We were then shepherded onto another bus to take us back to the main building (where Cat and Brendan collected their umbrellas) and then took a buggy back to where Timah was parked. We were headed to Marina Mall where we had an amazing Lebanese dinner.

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