Qasr Al Muwaiji .. The birthplace of Sheikh Khalifa

It carries within its walls memories and historical records

The building embodies the cultural and civilizational heritage of the region

Al Ain – Rashid Al Nuaimi

In the Al Muwaiji area of ​​Al Ain, there is an ancient archeological palace that carries within its walls historical memories and records related to the history of the Emirates, where the center of the first line for the founder and heart of the deceased , God was. willingly, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – may God rest his soul – and the place where the late was born Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State – may God rest his soul – and witnessed his first education.

Qasr Al Muwaiji has undergone a thorough restoration and advanced rehabilitation process according to the highest international standards. This building embodies the history and cultural and civilizational heritage of the region. The restoration program of Qasr Al Muwaiji has been going on for more than four decades, with the aim of restoring its original image and highlighting its archaeological components, in relation to its place in the history of the United Arab Emirates.

Located in the center of Al Ain, Qasr Al Muwaiji is an impressive building that has ensured the safety of the oasis for over a century. The palace was built in the early twentieth century as a divan and a meeting place for members of society. It is characterized by unpretentious simplicity and captivating landmarks at the same time. It witnessed an important stage in the history of the United Arab Emirates, and its construction represents a refined model of architecture that was based on brick construction at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Historic building

Qasr Al Muwaiji was built during the era of Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (Zayed I) (1855-1909) and his son Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Khalifa, and after the adoption of the late, God willing, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may his soul rest in peace, the founding father of the UAE. The United Arab Emirates, as the ruler’s representative in the Al Ain region in 1946, moved to live in Qasr Al Muwaiji to become a home for his family and the seat of his rule.

The Al Muwaiji Oasis is one of the smallest oases in Al Ain. It contains about 21,000 date palms. It is known for its aflaj irrigation system, which is dependent on groundwater and underground, coming from the neighboring mountains. Over the years, the lands of the castle have been reclaimed for the cultivation of date palm trees.

As for the Al Muwaiji Palace, which was built about 100 years ago on the west side of the city of Al Ain near the Muwaiji Oasis, it is considered as one of the distinctive historic buildings in the city. Al Ain is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its exceptional global value.

The palace was built by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan in the early years of the twentieth century during the reign of Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa the First, Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

The palace is built in the shape of a square, the length of its sides is 60 meters, and its total area is 3600 square meters. It is surrounded by a high defensive wall, about five meters high, and the thickness of the wall at the base is 950 millimeters. The palace has three main towers, some of which have been designated for housing and a government court to manage the affairs of the Al Ain region, and outside the palace there is a mosque whose design is similar to the architectural style of the palace.


In 1946, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan moved to Qasr Al Muwaiji when he accepted his duties as the representative of the ruler of Abu Dhabi in the Al Ain region. Two years later, Qasr Al Muwaiji was honored with the birth of his eldest son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, where Sheikh Khalifa spent most of his boyhood days. In this palace he draws from his father’s thinking and insight, and learns wisdom and sound leadership from him.

Despite the simplicity of the castle building, it remains remarkable because you can see a large courtyard surrounded by the square structure of the building, with prominent towers in its corners, and a large gate.Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, can his soul rests in peace, has made many additions to the castle, confirming its increasing importance as the headquarters of government in the region, a council for discussions, a place to receive visitors, a center for consultation and decision-making, and he also ordered the construction of new buildings for the court and new kitchens, and the expansion of Guest Rooms ordered to accommodate the increasing number of visitors.

The Citadel Mosque also witnessed an expansion with the increasing importance of Qasr Al Muwaiji, as a center around which community activities revolve as the number of people who came there to meet, pray and celebrate increased. When the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may his soul rest in peace, took over the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 1966, he moved with his son Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed to Abu Dhabi and in the early seventies of the twentieth century, this building has undergone several restoration phases that culminated in a major renovation project that contributed to the return of Qasr Al Muwaiji to its previous era as a common destination for visitors to Al Ain.

modern museum

As part of the modernization process, the palace was transformed into a modern museum, where the exhibition hall in the courtyard of the Al Muwaiji Palace was erected, surrounded by glass walls that tell the story of the castle and its inhabitants. focuses mainly on the achievements of Sheikh Khalifa. The exhibition also tells the history of Qasr Al Muwaiji, beginning with archaeological evidence to this day, through his role in the host of travelers and visitors.

The palace currently contains a group of stations that can be explored and enjoyed, from the entrance gate, where the outside of the castle and the surrounding area appear, and then the visitor moves to the permanent exhibition square surrounded by magnificent glass walls in the palace. palace courtyard, where he learns about the history of the palace and its inhabitants through the years. It also provides a chronology of the lives of members of the ruling family in Abu Dhabi and their close relationship with Qasr Al Muwaiji, through a group of rare photos, recounting defining moments in the country’s path.

It also reviews the lives and achievements of the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, while allowing the visitor to view the president’s possessions in the palace, where visitors to the palace have the opportunity to learn about its history through early discoveries of archaeological evidence. , and its importance as a family palace, a place of government and a destination for society. There will be an opportunity to learn a lot about the special aspects of Qasr Al Muwaiji’s history, such as its role in housing travelers and visitors and the importance of water for its survival and prosperity.

Outside the exhibition grounds, visitors can view the historic towers, the courtyard of Al Muwaiji Palace and the Al Qasr Mosque outside its walls, to experience a distinctive experience that combines evidence of brilliance, wisdom and originality, and between the past and the present and its prosperity and aspiration for the future. The restoration of the palace also provided a place for learning, awareness and appreciation.

The Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi opened the northwestern tower of the palace to visitors. In the early years of the palace’s construction, this tower contained living rooms, and during the era of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul, it has become the main dwelling for the family. Its area is larger compared to the northeast tower, and one of the traditional architectural features of this tower is to keep the rooms cool, which gives a lot of comfort throughout. .

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