Lonely Planet Writer

Take a first look inside the incredible Louvre Abu Dhabi

After years of waiting, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to open its doors to the public this weekend, and a first glimpse inside the incredible building has been revealed.

Jenny Holzer. ‘For Louvre Abu Dhabi’ (2017). Image by © Louvre Abu Dhabi – Photography Marc Domage

Billed as “the first museum of its kind in the Arab region”, the museum will open on 11 November with a week of celebrations. While the museum contains incredible artefacts charting the history of art and culture around the world, the structure itself is enough to wow visitors. Designed by Jean Nouvel, the building is envisioned as a museum city, a medina, which brings together traditional Arabic inspiration and contemporary design on a waterfront located in Abu Dhabi’s cultural district on Saadiyat Island.

Louvre Abu Dhabi –The World in Perspective. Image by © Louvre Abu Dhabi – Photography Marc Domage

Within its walls, visitors will find galleries filled with works of art from the museum’s collection and visiting pieces from its 13 partner museums in France. According to the museum: “the inaugural installation will take visitors on a chronological journey from prehistory to the present day, encompassing 12 chapters including the birth of the first villages; universal religions; cosmography; the magnificence of the royal court; and the modern world”.

Louvre Abu Dhabi – Ai Weiwei, ‘Fountain of Light’ (2016). Image by © Louvre Abu Dhabi – Photography Marc Domage

The pieces on display will range from ancient artefacts like a Grecian sphinx from the sixth century BC, to works by artists like Pablo Picasso, up to contemporary pieces like a massive sculpture by renowned international artist Ai Weiwei.

Louvre Abu Dhabi. Image by © Louvre Abu Dhabi – Photography Marc Domage

For the museum’s opening, there will be 300 works from its French partner museums on display, including pieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and many more. There will also be a special exhibition opening on 21 December, entitled From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone, which will trace the history of Musée du Louvre in Paris in the 18th century.

Louvre Abu Dhabi – Germination by Giuseppe Penone. Image by © Louvre Abu Dhabi – Photography Roland Halbe

The galleries and exhibitions will be open Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 am to 8 pm, and Thursday and Friday from 10 am to 10 pm. Tickets to the museum cost 60 AED (about $16 US) for general admission and 30 AED for visitors aged 13 to 22. The museum will have guided walking tours and audio tours in Arabic, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish. For more information visit here.