Educators make up a considerable number of the expats who are instrumental to the educational reform in the UAE. Know Your UAE provides insights into aspects of Arabic culture, traditions and places of historical value that educators may find interesting. In our spotlight, in this issue of Know Your UAE, is the Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum in Al Ain.
Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum
The palace of the late Sheikh Zayed was built in 1937. He lived there with his family until 1966. He decreed that the palace and private residential areas be preserved as an honest reflection of his county’s culture for all to experience. It was opened to the public in 2001.
Date Palm Tree
The Phoenix dactylifera or date palm tree is the most highly valued tree in the Arab world where the fruit has been a staple for many years. Throughout the palace museum various items can be seen that were made from the palm tree such as ropes, the ceiling structure, fans and prayer mats among other items.
The Grand Court Tent
Sheikh Zayed was proud to meet guests and VIPs in his grand court tent where he could demonstrate Arabian hospitality and generosity. A gorgeous replica of the grand court tent is located in the grounds of the palace and represents an iconic link with Bedouin life. The tent was made using handmade material which came from Iran. Goat’s skin was used to make the ropes that adorn the poles. Mothers (local women) made the ropes.
The Schoolroom & Quran Room
The property houses a schoolroom in which the royal children received lessons from private tutors. The Quran room is just outside the schoolroom. This is where the family received their lessons in Islamic Studies.. The room still has original copies of the Quran on display.
The Inner Courtyard
The inner courtyard contains the main kitchen and storeroom, adjacent to which is the palace’s vital water supply…the well. The well is about fifteen metres (15m) deep. It is equipped with a rope made from palm tree leaves and a water sack made from animal leather. To cool the water, clay jars were hung from tree branches.
The Sitting Room
Sheikha Fatima had three (3) sitting rooms in which she would entertain her guests. Upstairs of the main building, houses the bedrooms of the royal children. The boys’ room has typically masculine items such as a sword and dagger. While the girls’ room has feminine items such as colourful flowers painted on the bed boards as well as baskets made from palm tree leaves that were used to keep trinkets.
Once you step inside the walls of Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum in Al Ain you leave behind the hustle and bustle of the traffic outside. Tour guides are available upon request. If you do not wish to have a tour guide, you are welcome to browse at your own pace. Keep in mind that there are special guidelines in place to protect the items on display. If you haven’t been yet, grab a camera and some friends and make your way to Al Mutawaa in Al Ain or call 03-751-7755 for additional information.