At a time when new popular UAE attractions are bustling with people exploring and having fun, The Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi is a breath of fresh air.
Spread across 3.3 hectares of public space, it is a beautiful garden designed for quiet strolls and contemplation; but more than anything, it is a permanent tribute to the UAE’s beloved founding father, Sheikh Zayed.
In the heart of The Founder’s Memorial is The Constellation, a monumental public artwork designed by international artist Ralph Helmick. It features a dynamic three-dimensional portrait of Sheikh Zayed that can be viewed from multiple vantage points around the memorial.
Housed in a 30m-high pavilion, The Constellation contains 1,327 geometric shapes suspended on 1,110 cables to create a series of evolving personal encounters with Sheikh Zayed’s image.
By night, the suspended shapes shine like stars, a reminder of Sheikh Zayed’s role as a guiding light for the UAE and its people. This celestial display evokes the timelessness of Sheikh Zayed’s vision, which continues to guide the UAE today.
The rest of the space is designed to reflect Sheikh Zayed’s love of nature. The relaxing landscape is planted with trees and shrubs that can be found only in the Arabian Peninsula.
In the Heritage Garden, you will discover a range of local plants known in the UAE for their traditional uses, including Desert Cotton, Henna, Suwac (Toothbrush Tree), Carraluma and Harmal.
Ghaf and Sidr trees provide moments of reflection under their cool shade throughout the Sanctuary Garden, which encircles The Constellation Pavilion. Across the memorial site, you will find a variety of other tree species including Nakhl (Date Palm), Fitneh (Sweet Acacia), and Samr (Umbrella Thorn Acacia).
Near the Sanctuary Garden, you will find a water feature inspired by the ancient falaj irrigation system used by the people of the Arabian Peninsula and further developed by Sheikh Zayed.
On top of it all, the Memorial also features a visitor’s centre celebrating the life of Sheikh Zayed. It is, indeed, a wonderful place where one can learn more about the legacy of the UAE’s beloved founder and get closer to the heart and vision that drive the nation.
Photo sources: Press Photos from MultiVu