Founder’s Memorial, a permanent national tribute to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, has completed its first year of operations since opening to the public in April 2018. In that time, 198,919 people from a range of ages and cultural background have visited the Memorial, including a number of state visitors and international delegations.
The 3.3-hectare memorial site has also been widely utilised as a peaceful new public space in the UAE capital and a vibrant focal point during national celebrations and events.
The Founder’s Memorial was established as a place where local and international visitors can learn about and reflect on the life, legacy and values of the late Sheikh Zayed through a series of personal encounters that reveal aspects of him as both a man and a leader. Its centrepiece is ‘The Constellation’, a monumental public artwork featuring a 30 metre high, three-dimensional portrait of the late Sheikh Zayed that can be viewed from various angles at the Memorial and from other vantage points in the city. The thoughtfully landscaped Memorial site also contains a Heritage Garden with a collection of native plants and trees, an inspired Falaj-Water Channel feature, Welcome Centre offering moving multimedia experiences, and an elevated walkway featuring a series of inspirational quotes from the late Sheikh Zayed.
Dr Yousef Al Obaidli, Director-General of The Founder’s Memorial, stated that the monument reflects the beloved and respected status that the late founding father continues to hold in the hearts of the UAE people and countless others around the world: “The Memorial honours and disseminates the long-standing legacy of a man who epitomised insightfulness and wisdom in leadership and sound governance. A man whose glorious shining bright achievements continue lighting the UAE‘s path towards progress and prosperity,” said Dr Al Obaidli.
He added, “In a short span of time, the Founder’s Memorial has become one of the key cultural and tourism landmarks in the UAE capital. In its first year, the Memorial has hosted delegations from 3,277 educational institutions and 2,180 government departments, 556 guests from the private sector and hotels, and 217 visitors from embassies accredited in the UAE.”
“Every possible effort is being tirelessly made to achieve the Memorial’s mission and advance the cultural renaissance in the UAE, through the landmark’s unique amalgamation of modernist art experiences and quintessential Emirati heritage,” said Dr Al Obaidli.
Open daily, the Founder’s Memorial offers year-round programming and free guided tours to visitors. Since opening one year ago, around 1,472 cultural tours have been provided by the Memorial’s trained Cultural Tour Guides, and more than 10,000 visitors from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds have embarked on one of the Memorial’s sightseeing tours.
Ameena Al Hammadi, Head of Cultural Tours at the Founder’s Memorial, said that each visit to the Memorial provides visitors with new insights into the life of the late Sheikh Zayed and the history of the nation, as well as being an opportunity to reflect on the aesthetic, architectural and artistic aspects of the monument: “Emirati tour guides offer free 30-minute tours to the public in both English and Arabic that provide a general overview of the country’s history, and help visitors gain a deeper understanding of Sheikh Zayed and his legacy. Tours begin at the Welcome Centre, where guests are introduced to various interactive experiences before visiting other sections of the Memorial, including ‘The Constellation’, the elevated walkway and the Heritage Garden,” said Al Hammadi.
“The Memorial team is professionally trained and committed to providing the best possible levels of services and hospitality, in order to ensure an enjoyable and informative experience for all visitors,” she added.