Thursday, June 27, 2024

The Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is vastly different than its Parisian counterpart, both architecturally and in terms of the collection. Neither should be surprising, particularly as this Louvre opened in 2017. The building itself, featuring light refracted through a webbed concrete ceiling and perched on the gleaming waters of the Arabian Gulf, seems even more contemporary than I.M Pei's pyramid addition to the Louvre.



The collection is not huge and can be visited in an afternoon, although there is obviously ample additional exhibition space available. The displays are largely chronological, beginning with early indigenous settlements, progressing through the Egyptian civilization, and into the Greco/Roman periods. Pictured above are 8,000-year-old statutes from Jordan.


One stated goal of the museum is to bridge the divide between eastern and western art, and some exhibition space is devoted to showing the interactions between various cultures and religions over time.

                                                               An early Leonardo Da Vinci


                                          Below, a George Washington portrait by Gilbert Stuart


                                                                     The unique ceiling

Located on Saadiyat Island, the museum is one of several planned for an intended cultural center. Eventually, the island will showcase a Guggenheim contemporary art museum, a National Museum, a Maritime museum, and a performing arts center, amongst other attractions.


                                                                    A view over the Gulf


Wednesday, June 26, 2024

The Dubai Desert and Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

 Only an hour drive from city center, many excursions may be had in the desert, principally camel riding or dune mashing in a variety of vehicles. I opted for the latter, in an air-conditioned jeep, and the experience was exhilarating.

With the temperature exceeding 115 degrees, I was anxious to return to the cool confines of our vehicle. 


                                                                              My guide.


                                      New and ultra-modern construction is everywhere in Dubai.

The entrance to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two of the seven-member nation known as the United Arab Emirates, with Abu Dhabi the capitol.


The Mosque, completed in 2007, covers more than 30 acres. It can accommodate 40,000 worshipers. 


              The inlay in the courtyard is believed to be the largest mosaic floral design in the world.


                    The 96 columns in the prayer hall are clad in marble and inlaid with mother-of-pearl.


              The chandeliers were crafted in Germany and incorporate million of Swarovski crystals.


                                  The 35-ton carpet was crafted by approximately 1200 carpet knotters.

Old Dubai

The Gold and Spice souk on Old Baladiva Street, with the world's largest golden ring, the Star of Taiba...

In the historic Al Fahidi neighborhood, also known as Al Bastakiya, a recreation of a typical Bedouin encampment.


                                           I was welcomed into a traditional home for a cup of tea.


The neighborhood was once slated to be demolished but is now undergoing extensive renovations. The Al Fahidi Fort, below, is the oldest existing building in the city. Erected in 1787, it was renovated in 2021 and now houses the Dubai Museum.


A traditional rowing race boat, equipped for 78 rowers, that raced in every annual race from 1972-1992.


                                                              The Jumeirah Grand Mosque


                                                                 View of the Burj Al Arab

The Burj al Arab, the Dubai Mall and the View

        The Burj Al Arab, Dubai's iconic sail-shaped hotel, fits anyone's definition of "luxury."

                                                   A few pictures of the lobby, pool, and mezzanine.




                                                                                                                 View at breakfast, with a visitor!


By land area, the Dubai Mall is the second-largest in the world and contains more than 1,300 stores, an aquarium, an ice-skating rink, and numerous other attractions. Below is a photo of the popular dinosaur skeleton. The Mall is regularly the most visited tourist attraction in the world, surpassing New York City and Los Angeles.

Yes, an ice-skating rink inside a mall based in a desert.


                                           Interesting sculptures are placed throughout the Mall.


The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest structure, soars half a mile into the sky. Needless to say, the views are spectacular.


Views from the Mall. Every evening, a show featuring water fountains, music, and lights displayed on the Burg Khalifa is visible from the Mall.