Visitors will now be able to peek inside the white-washed compound housing the Presidential Palace of Abu Dhabi, which has been closed to the public until now. Built in 2015, the palace has huge onion-shaped domes, glistening gilded interiors, plush furniture and pruned-to-perfection gardens.

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The exterior of Qasr al Watan.

Tours of the building will focus on the part of the palace called Qasr Al Watan (Palace of the Nation), where global leaders and heads of state have made official visits. The palace contains the offices of the president, vice president and crown prince of Abu Dhabi, and it’s the meeting place of the highest constitutional authority in the United Arab Emirates.

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Qasr Al Watan during the opening ceremony.

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, announced the decision, saying that it was hoped that this opening will increase visitors' understanding of Emirati culture. Qasr Al Watan will house interactive exhibitions about the UAE’s history and heritage, a library and the House of Knowledge, which will spotlight Arab contributions to human knowledge. After dark, a sound-and-light show will light up the palace’s exterior and tell the story about the past, present and future of the UAE.

Once seen as merely a stopover destination, Abu Dhabi has had a number of high-profile openings that have tempted culture-seekers to stay longer, from the 2017 unveiling of the Louvre Abu Dhabi – which clocked more than one million visitors in its first year – to the renovation and reopening of Qasr Al Hosn just a few months ago.

Tickets are Dhs60 (US$16) for adults and Dhs30 (US$8) for children, or you can choose to visit the gardens only for Dhs25 (US$7). To buy tickets, visit the official website of Qasr Al Watan.

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