qasr al watan

An incredible segment of the Presidential Palace Complex in Abu Dhabi has been now open to the public. It’s Qasr Al Watan which is translated as the Palace of the Nation! Besides being home to the offices of the UAE President, Vice Price President, and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Qasr Al Watan is the meeting place of the UAE’s supreme constitutional authority and has also welcomed many significant international dignitaries since 2015.

The move to make this section accessible to the public was initiated by Sheikh Khalifa, the UAE’s president, so that visitors from all over the world will be able to get a glance of the country’s governing institutions while gaining a better understanding of the country’s fascinating culture and royal heritage. As a result, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed (the UAE’s Crown Prince) announced the opening of

Qasr Al Watan

for public tours from March 11th, 2019.

So are you planning to visit this magnificent cultural attraction? From its regal architecture and the remarkable ever highlights to its location, timing, entry fee, and onsite facilities, here is a guide on everything you need to know about Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi.

Presidential Palace Abu Dhabi Architecture

qasr al watan abu dhabi

More than 350,000-square-meter Presidential Palace exudes unequaled Arabian artistry and royalty in every aspect and so is its Qasr Al Watan. Built to the honor of the rich Arabian heritage, it is indisputably the most grandiose of all architectural landmarks that you’ll get to see in the UAE. Its architecture exemplifies the Mughal era theme and is enriched by multifaceted designs and decorations.

The palace façade’s built is a combo of limestone and granite, making it a dramatic contrast to the blue sea in the vicinity. And its white color not only embodies pureness but also lives up to the region’s tradition of using subtle colors to combat intense heat. Speaking of its ornamentation and detailing, there are 5000 plus intricate geometric patterns that adorn the palace’s walls, ceilings and other parts in varied hues and layouts. Moreover, be in awe at its maple doors whose designs are meticulously handcrafted and finished in 23-carat French gold.

Qasr Al Watan – Main Attractions

1. The Great Hall:

qasr al watan

The 100X100 meters Great Hall is the piece-de-resistance of the palace, as it’s captivatingly embellished with delicate artworks, patterns, and arches. There are mirrored cubes, reflecting the unmatched intricacy, ingenuity, and savoir-faire employed in every minute aspect of this palace. It further gives you the rare opportunity to stand under one of the world’s largest domes whose diameter is a colossal 37 meters.

Presidential Gifts: Here, you’ll see the choicest items that have been gifted to the UAE’s President by the foreign representatives during their visit to the country. From elegant Turkmenistan carpets, stunning clothes and ornate figurines to sumptuous vases, sword and shield and medals, there is a vast array of gifts on view here.

2. The Presidential Banquet:

qasr al watan

It’s where the official banquets are hosted and this section is remarkably fitted out to reflect the acclaimed traditional Arabian hospitality. Add to this close to 150,000 premium finish pieces in silver, crystal, etc, all exclusively created for the palace. It is one of the most exquisite places to visit in Abu Dhabi.

3. Governance and Spirit of Collaboration:

This section holds a special allure and significance as it has been designed to host Federal Supreme Council Meetings and the summits of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. One of its most striking features is a massive chandelier that is 12 tonnes and containing 350,000 crystals.

4. House of Knowledge:

It actually comprises two rooms in the palace’s east wing and they feature some amazingly rare artifacts, manuscripts, etc, all throwing light on the contributions made by the Arab World in arts, literature, and science, among others. And one attraction that is certain to grab your attention here is the golden cage-like calligraphic structure, known as the Power of Words; it represents the inspiring Arabic quote by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan that the nation’s real wealth is people and not oil or money. If you are fascinated by this world of Emirati past, do read the Qasr Al Hosn Abu Dhabi guide; about an attraction located in the vicinity.

5. The Barza:

This is the palace’s second-biggest section after the Great Hall. Here, you’ll be able to know the importance of a Majlis (space where guests are welcomed) in the Emirati culture and traditions. And this is well depicted through an intriguing multimedia presentation that highlights the historical past of the Majlis in the country.

6. Qasr Al Watan Library:

Appealing interiors apart, it serves as an authentic and ultimate resource to dig into the country’s archeology, art, achievements, culture, history, constitutions, and more. In addition to an imposing repertoire of over 50,000 books, it also boasts of an exclusive digital library with over 16 million titles. The good news is that you can explore this section free of cost by registering your name at the Visitor Centre.

7. Palace in Motion:


It is a fascinating light and show which you can enjoy in the evenings. Displayed on the palace’s façade, the 15-minute spectacle unveils the story in three diverse acts that journey you through the UAE’s past, present and future in the most absorbing way.

8. Palace Grounds with Hallways and Gardens:

Everything about this structure is unique and rich, and not to mention its charmingly manicured gardens and elegant courtyards. Also, don’t miss to stroll under its splendid hallways which further feast you with the most spellbinding views of the extensively sprawling palace grounds. To fall in love with nature again, go through Umm Al Emarat Park guide.

Explore Qasr Al Watan

1. Qasr Al Watan Location & Entry Fee

Qasr Al Watan is close to the Emirates Palace Hotel and is placed on the Ras Al Akhdar peninsula. When it comes to tickets, make a choice between the limited-access garden ticket and a palace-and-garden ticket offering more detailed access to the attraction. Ticket fee is AED 25 (adults) / AED 12 (kids aged 4-17) for garden-only option and AED 60 (adults) / AED 30 (kids aged 4-17) for both palace and garden access. For an in-depth look at its main highlights, opt for the services of an experienced English or Arabic tour guide who can accommodate up to 20 guests in a 30-minute session (extra charges apply).

2. Opening Hours

Qasr Al Watan is open on all days from 10:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs.

The light and sound show (Palace in Motion) begins at 19:30 hrs every day and lasts for 15 minutes.

3. Dining

qasr al watan

It offers five dining choices to suit every preference. This ranges from restaurants such as Al Fowala and Dhiyafat in the palace area to Maqha Al Maktaba Café within the library to the F&B outlet, namely, Legma in the visitor center.

4. Gift Shop

The two gift shops within the palace area and visitor center allow you to purchase some one-off souvenirs themed around the structure.

5. Other Facilities – Parking & Wheelchair

There is no dearth of parking space, and there is valet parking available for AED 80. If you’re joined by aged or disabled people, you can request for wheelchairs and the greatest thing is that you can use it for free. However, if you need pushchairs, a nominal charge of AED 40 is applicable for the same.

Finally, A Few Recommendations

  1. You can click pictures within the facility, but know that it’s strictly forbidden to shoot or capture images of its security system or staff.
  2. If you want to smoke, make use of the dedicated smoking area.
  3. Make sure that you don’t carry items including alcohol, umbrellas (long), bikes, bicycles, roller skates, aerosol/paints and sharp objects such as knives and scissors.
  4. Pets and animals are not allowed.

Qasr Al Watan, in a phrase, is an authentic Emirati landmark where you can admire the Arabian royal architecture and rich heritage in an inspiring setting. So know what it’s like to see a working palace in real by visiting this marvelous structure. As you explore its various sections, you’ll realize that it’s beyond a palace and is rather a royal treasure trove of historic and cultural experiences. You will find many such pleasant and intriguing things to do in Abu Dhabi. So, plan before you take the flight to the UAE’s capital.


Q1. What attractions and activities does Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi offer guests?

Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi offers visitors the chance to explore the magnificent architecture of the palace, go to the library, see historical artefacts and manuscripts, and take part in cultural exhibitions and events. The castle also has outside courts and a lovely garden.

Q2. Name some key attractions in Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi.

  • The Great Hall
  • The Presidential Banquet
  • The Barza
  • House of Knowledge
  • Palace in Motion

Q3. Is photography allowed in Qasr AI Watan Abu Dhabi?

Yes, photography is allowed inside Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi, but flash photography and tripods are not permitted.

Q4. How long does it take to visit Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi?

Visitors can spend anywhere from 1-2 hours to a half-day exploring Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi, depending on their interests and the activities they wish to participate in.

Q5. What are the ticket prices to enter Qasr AI Watan Abu Dhabi?

AED 60 for kids and AED 100 for adults

Rezmin is passionate about traveling and curating content about history, traditions and other intriguing aspects that make a place attractive. In her spare time, she enjoys reading fictional books sprinkled with inspiration, humor and enthusiasm.

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