There’s a new place to explore in the Emirates, and a first of its kind in the Arab world. Louvre Abu Dhabi; an international art and history museum that documents the story of human existence. A place showcasing the evolution of man right from the Pre-stone age where he would hunt with stone, to artefacts of leaders from great civilizations carved in stone and captured in paintings. A universal museum that houses a wondrous collection of priceless world art, exploring the connections between different cultures, religions and civilizations despite the geographical and time period difference. A museum not only dedicated to those wishing to step back in time, but also for the contemporary art lovers and engineers.
Here are my top five reasons that make visiting Louvre Abu Dhabi a must:
- Architecture of the Museum
Designed by Jean Nouvel, a Pritzker Architecture prize winner, the stunning design of Louvre Abu Dhabi received inspiration from Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island; a lagoon island between sand and sea, shade and light.
The iconic dome is 180 meters in diameter and covers two thirds of the museum. The interlacing design of the dome is created by a geometric template of stars repeated in different sizes and at different angles to create layers. This silver laced dome looks like interwoven palm leaves, influenced by the traditional roofing material in the Emirates. As the sun filters through the layers of the dome, rays of light fall to the museum floor, creating a wonderful play of patterns made by light and shadow.
Never will you have seen a piece of architecture as breath-taking as that of Louvre Abu Dhabi.
- Open Plan Museum
While a lot of the artefacts are encased in glass boxes, most of them are out in the open, a mere centimetres away from your eyes. The presence of strict security guards in every gallery means you won’t be allowed to touch the artefacts, however you get the opportunity to closely study them with your eyes and notice the different textures and details.
Never did I think I’d have the opportunity to study the minute brush strokes of Vincent Van Gogh on his famous 1887 Self-portrait.
While waking between galleries, you will notice large floor to ceiling windows that not only bring in large amounts of natural light but also give you a view of the horizon and the water channels running through the museum, inspired by the ancient Falaj system of Arab Engineering used in irrigation.
Even though I visited the museum during a busy time at the weekend, I still had the opportunity to get close to some of the famous paintings, mentioned below, and take pictures from every angle. So, one can only imagine how open spaced it must feel during off-peak hours.
- Collections from around the world
The Louvre Abu Dhabi boasts a vast collection of historical and contemporary world artefacts from various time periods and cultures. This include scriptures of different religious beliefs, discoveries made along the trade routes and modern art of the new world. While I am no expert when it comes to priceless artefacts, I was able to recognise some pieces that are worthy of international recognition, such as:
La Belle Ferronnie, Leonardo da Vinci, 1495- 1499
Self-potrait, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887
Napoleon at the Saint-Bernard Pass, Jacques-Louis David, 1801-1805
And the infamous painting seen in the Mr. Bean movie : Whistler’s Mother, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1871
- Dedicated Children’s Museum
A section of the museum, a separate building, dedicated to children and to enlighten their curiosity in history and art. A place without any security guards and the freedom for kids to run around and touch everything on display. It is a family focused interactive workshop hall, aimed to inspire children between 6- 12 years, to learn about the different artistic techniques, ideas and its origin.
While my 2 year old daughter wasn’t able to take part in most of the interactive stations, such as tracing 3D flowers on a paper and drawing picture of the vases, she sure had lots of fun at the black board where she could make re-arrange brightly coloured magnetic shapes.
Also, children under the age of 13 enter the museum for free!
- Facilities within the Museum
The Louvre Abu Dhabi has three tours aimed to educate visitors about the museum’s collections and its architecture influenced by local tradition. These are: Louvre Abu Dhabi Masterpieces, Architecture and My first visit to Louvre Abu Dhabi, starting from 30 AED for under 22 year olds and 40 AED for adults.
The Multimedia guide is also available, where visitors will be handed an iPad mini to help you create your own kind of tour. This is priced at 20 AED.
The museum is able to accommodate the diverse needs of different visitors that would require special facilities. The museum also has a cloak room, lockers, availability to load wheel chairs and strollers, a café and prayer rooms. Of course, no visit would be complete without visiting the Museum Boutique to take back home a memorable souvenir.
For more information about timings, tickets and news updates, please visit their website.
If you enjoyed reading about my experience, you may also enjoy reading about my other experiences on the blog:
Don’t forget to like , comment below and share this on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. It would mean the world to me. If you are enjoying reading my blog, feel free to subscribe and be the first one to know of a new published post.