The United Arab Emirates is a wonderland, not only for its towering skyscrapers but also for its pristine architectural structures and monuments. These monumental sculptures exude power and grandeur, evoking emotions of awe, admiration, prosperity, and success. The word "monument" is derived from the Latin word "moneo," which means "to remember," and this type of art has been around for ages.
In this blog post, we highlight five awe-inspiring monumental artworks across the UAE that are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Faisal Abdulqader's stunning painting of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a modern architectural wonder that boasts intricate geometric patterns and stunning white marble. Conceived by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, this masterpiece is a symbol of peace and tolerance towards people of all faiths. The mosque features white marble domes, numerous gold-plated Swarovski chandeliers, and a courtyard housing one of the grandest marble mosaic artworks. It also holds the Guinness World Record for the largest hand-woven carpet in the world.
Image Source: Sharjah Mosque
The Sharjah Mosque, the second-largest mosque in the UAE, is an Ottoman-inspired architectural icon that exudes divine and spiritual beauty. The main dome is surrounded by six half domes, and a multitude of smaller domes are scattered throughout, all of which are adorned with calligraphy and ornate motifs. The mosque's intricate lighting design preserves its religious values, and the wooden doors were made using the traditional technique of "Kundekari," which creates moisture-resistant panels that can last for centuries.
Qasr Al Watan
Image Source: Qasr Al Watan
Qasr Al Watan is a working Presidential palace and an ode to Abu Dhabi's Arabian heritage. This exquisite palace showcases the Arab community's contributions to various fields of knowledge and is symbolic of the UAE's traditions and values. The Great Hall, which houses the central dome and splendid archways, is the main attraction. Visitors can reflect on the mesmerising details of its mosaic patterns and ornamentation by exploring the mirrored cubes positioned at every corner of this exquisitely crafted zone.
Museum of the Future
Image Source: Museum of the Future
The Museum of the Future is a stunning architectural marvel that blends tradition with modernity. Designed by Killa Design, the avant-garde façade's unique oval shape represents humanity, while the green mound below represents the earth, and the void represents the unknown future. The exterior features Arabic calligraphy that envelops the circular building as windows, with a quote from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum: "Innovation is not an intellectual luxury. It is the secret behind the evolution and rejuvenation of nations and peoples." The Arabic script windows cast light into the interior by day and illuminate the city's iconic skyline at night.
Al Jahili Fort
Sir Wilfred Thesiger’s framed panel of the Al Jahili Fort.
Al Jahili Fort offers visitors a glimpse into a typical, traditional aristocratic home in Abu Dhabi. The original fort included a square high-walled fort and a separate round tower composed of four consecutively rising and narrowing concentric tiers. Today, the fort has cylindrical towers at three of its corners, with the sheikh's majlis located in the fourth corner. The cultural center houses a temporary exhibition gallery and a permanent exhibition devoted to Sir Wilfred Thesiger, a renowned explorer from the 1940s who crossed the world's largest sand mass, the Empty Quarter (Rub' al Khali), twice.
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Feature Image: Faisal Al Rais