This is the last post from the trip to the Emirates which started on March 6/2022
The spectacular grandiosity, lavish architectural beauty, and the message communicated through the amazing institutional structures we visited today, and which included:
Qazar al Watan-the mamoth Gov Administrative complex, the Shikh Zayed Grand Mosque , the L0uvre art museum, and the Beit al Oud - music school, absolutely overwhelmed my senses and sensibilities, which were already overpowered and above my awareness capacity, by what was observed, throughout this seminar touring week .
Abu -Dhabi's emphasis on resurrecting a glorious religious and political administrative past, as well as cultural, artistic and architectural, renaissance, but even more grandiose
and very deliberate, is very obvious. The traditional autocratic Emirates rulers’ experiment, in deliberate recruitment and utilization of purposeful exaggerated tactical systems, applied to all aspects of societal life, as to engineer a revised consciousness, is accomplished by:
1.Communicating and educating via conceptual buzz lingo , not just in Arabic, but also in English -a language familiar and comprehended internationally throughout the Western sphere,
2.Constructing, state of the art, modern massive lavish infrastructure,
Financed by the oil revenues, this deliberate social and cultural consciousness engineering, via political reprogramming, to gain International legitimacy, raise several pin-pointing questions. Will the calculated verbiage utility of communicated Western values, and premeditated educational drumming, of the developed world’s conceptual terminology, taught and inscribed, throughout the Emirates, also on building’s walls and glass, really permeate into the next generation's political and cultural consciousness?
Will these concepts below, used in purposeful mass re-education, of the next generation like: Tolerance, Coexistence, Moderation, Communication, Excellence, Unity, Liberty, , Mutual Respect, Openness to the world, knowledge , Scientific advances, international communication, and so forth, yet the core word and concept of "equality" is missing, really become innately internalized, and socially sustainable in an innately stratified
Will the cultural engineering trial succeed for the long haul, in re-branding this traditional corner of the Arab Islamic sphere, with mainly the reinforcement of launching most advance competitive services, cultural institutes, and modern infrastructure that consisting of:
the tallest most beautiful architecturally designed structures, advanced transportation connections, attractive touristic sites, largest fountains and parks, most lucrative learning institutions and branded cultural venues as museums, arenas or music halls, ?
Will these operational tactics indeed, hatch a new hybrid civilization, configured off the perceived, once religious, cultural and political glorious past, which is now fused again and reinforced by technological moderna ?
Will this hybrid be committed to a sustainable promise of progress, coexistence and peaceful future? Can the re-education and reprogramming of the next generation within a stratified Shikhood , as well as the dream of Andalusia resurrected (a long gone idealized past) be brought "back to the future" , and actually co-exist, strive, and be sustainable ???
Can imposed indoctrinated alien EXTERNAL values, be eventually authentically internalized, and be transformed into an intrinsic different value system under
Shikhotoracy political system?
Can a value system which naturally and slowly developed and has been so ingrained in the Western sphere, but has been for centuries, incongruous and extrinsic within the Eastern Islamic historical traditions, really be rooted-in, and can a past-future, hybrid civilization in which, live and let live in peace, actually emerge???
Apparently only time will tell ....the outcome of this megalomanial experiment...
Highlights of the day
Beit al Oud - Arabic Oud House -a Musical School Institution
address: Villa No. 72 Malqatah St - Al Nahyan, +971 2 641 5699
The oud is one of mankind’s oldest stringed instruments, dating back to the Akkadian Empire (2350 BCE) in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). One of the greatest proponents of the oud was Ziryab (777-852 CE). who was the lead singer and musician at the court of Andalusia (modern-day Spain) and .who developed the instrument and spread its use from the Islamic world into Europe.
The white villa, situated in a recently build neighborhood, stands-out in its beauty and serenity
Founded in 2008, Bait al Oud provides lessons and certificate-awarding courses in this instrument, as well as in other Arabic instruments as qanun and the Middle Eastern cello. Additionally, since 2017 Bait Al Oud is the UAE’s first music institute to teach rababa to a professional level.
Led by artistic director and Oud legend Naseer Shamma, the school trains and develops young Emiratis in the expert use of traditional instruments.
The school is dedicated to the study, teaching and nurturing of the next generation of professional musicians in the UAE, as well as to safeguarding and preserving traditional Arabic music heritage, versed in the history and repertoire of music, vocals, Emirati choral and muwashahat.
An integrated music institute, the school is consistent with Abu Dhabi's vision of sustainable development and resurrection of cultural and artistic renaissance .
Documenting masterpieces of Arab musical heritage, disseminating historical knowledge and theory, fostering creativity and promoting artistic dialogue, practicing and performing the music, and manufacturing the instruments themselves, are the activities taking place at the school . as to achieve that vision of a regional hub for musicians throughout the emirate and beyond the UAE.
The school has become a tourist destination, presenting Abu Dhabi’s visitors with the musical cultural heritage, featuring the oud and Arabic music performances and concerts
Bait Al Oud also teaches the skills and process of making an oud by hand. based on the instrument’s classic form, Ouds produced at Bait Al Oud are precision crafted to be 67 cm long and 36 cm wide at the sound box. The finest cedar and rosewood are used to make the oud. Each piece is then assessed for its ideal placement in the instrument. This gives a distinctive sound to the oud strings, especially for high notes and bass
Qazar al Watan- the mamoth working Presidential Palace
The majestic opulent grandiosity of this modern Arabic landmark, communicate direct statement for the Emirates' people and the international community, on the spirit, culture, Arab heritage, knowledge, governing principles and pride of the people and leaders, who shaped the history of the United Arab Emirates and its vision to the future.
The contemporary design and setting of the Muslim Persian structure style with Mamlukian and Andalusian motives also reflects an amazing craftsmanship..
Construction of the palace started in 2010 and completed in 2017 .The Palace was open to public visitations in 2019. Before, it was for official summit purposes only, mainly hosting foreign leaders of states, and for meetings of the country's supreme council and federal cabinet. , which it does currently as well, but it was never for sleep use.
With a facade made of Indian white granite and limestone, the mainly white palace is intricately oriental designed, and ornately decorated with crystal chandelier, unique pieces of silver, and the largest hand woven carpet.
An emblem of the adored spread wing Falcon - the UAE national bird -decorates the wall above the main entrance's gate. As the “king” of birds, Falcon represents power, victory, rulership, agility, ascension, determination. and a potent symbol of the nation's strength and heritage
The interior includes central chamber, or the Great Hall , symmetrically architectural heart of the Palace, crowned by a large dome, a Presidential Banquette Hall for 300 people, , Knowledge hall and a library.
The Hall of Knowledge focuses on the Arab Golden Age era (8 - to 13 AD) when progress made by Arab scholars in mathematics, sciences, astronomy, architecture, and medicine.
The Power of the Words - gold plated art work by Mattar Bin Lahej ,- an Emirati painter, photographer, and sculptor from Dubai.
The calligraphy presents a quote from the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahayn
"Wealth is not money or oil and is worthless if not dedicated to serve the people"
Shikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The 7th world's largest and most magnificent Mosque, which opened in 1979, is an architectural masterpiece that amazingly combines Islamic architecture, craft and design, in a purposeful effort to communicate a message of an inclusive Andalusian Islam of peace and tolerance towards people of all beliefs.
The grand spectacular mosque built in honer of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is the burial place of the late Sheikh, and commemorates his legacy and memory.
The Mosque is a religious, educational and cultural research center, and is tourism destination, enhancing cross cultural interchange.
Situated on an island in a strategic geographical location, connected by 3 bridges, the structure's masterpiece Islamic architecture, contains : Syrian Umaia minarates, Egyptian al Azhar Mosqe layout, Mamluck's domes, Ottoman and Fatimid styles, depicting pure colors, white on the exterior, a clad with SIVEC marble from Macedonia.
The religious motives used in the eclectic design, aim to give a modern political message on the historical stages absorbing the 4 Islamic Sunni streams.
A display a traditional Islamic designs of symmetry and repetition, with every artistic ornamentation and design elements, as is revealed in the sophisticated techniques in the decoration, of palms' crowned Roman columns.
A flowery multi-colored marble in-lay Moghol designs, (as in the Indian Taj) decorates the floors and walls.
Artistic carved and sand blasted glass,, mosaic, 1,096 amethyst-and-jasper-embedded columns, 82 white marble domes, reflective pools, gold-plated Swarovski chandeliers,
and a Guinness World Record for the largest hand-woven carpet.
An iconic prayer hall, and a courtyard feature one of the largest marble mosaic artworks in the world. Also calligraphy encircles the hollows of its domes, etched with verses from the Quran and painted with gold leaf in An-Naskh lettering.
3D flowery in-lay
The grand Mosque is most popular attraction spot, welcoming up to 55,000 visitors and worshipers daily. The far underground glass domed entry, from the parking lot, which leads to the the Mosque, passes via an air conditioned mall , spotted with eatery stands and trinket stores.
A long corridor ending with an escalator leads, up through another glassed tome exit, and lands the visitors back at the ground level, from which the looming white marbled Grand Mosque is a breathtaking spectacular scene.
Modesty watch-workers who oversee the streaming of visitors, through the corridor's passages, assure that all women's heads are covered with scarfs, and that long sleeve shirts and trousers leave no flesh exposed, All non-modest appearances are being
sifting out, and politely directed to purchase the covering-up missing items.
The covering up of the heads combined with the masked faces, made all the women look like absolute aliens. Without the undergrad air conditioning, we would have all suffocate and fainted, right there and then...
The Abu-Dhabi Louvre - Art museum
Designed by the known French architect Jean Nouvel the museum was built in 2017 on archipelago in the sea, surrounded by water, with access to also boats, the museum is part of a US$27 billion tourist and cultural development initiative of 2000 for Saadiyat Island, large cultural center
The city from the museum's Island
The Island is planned to house a cluster of world-class cultural assets, including the , Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Abrahamic Family House as well as a performing arts center designed by Zaha Hadid; a maritime museum design by Tadao Ando; a number of arts pavilions, hotels and religious institutes. . making it the largest art museum in the Arabian peninsula, Building in progress.
The project runs under an agreement between the UAE and France, signed in 2007, that allows it to use the Louvre's name for 30 years until 2037, committing to 4 exhibitions a year. Since 2017 lots of the museum's art was acquired
By 2019, the Louvre Abu Dhabi had already attracted 2 million visitors, making it the most visited museum in the Arab world
It is both a calm and complex place
Architecturally inspired by the low-rise homes of the region. and founded on a major symbol of Arab architecture: the large geodesic cap of 180 meters in diameter, is a modern version double dome made covered stainless still , an evident shift from tradition,
Constructed of a 591-foot silvery metal, the dome is comprised of 7,850 stars in a complex geometric pattern. When sunlight falls through it, the design creates a moving “rain of light” underneath the dome. a natural elements- notably swaying palm trees in oases found in the UAE,
The Dom offers horizontal, perfectly radiating geometry, a randomly perforated woven Mashrabia -like design of small openings that penetrate light and transmit air that cools off the structure and provides shade, punctuated by bursts of sun. The dome gleams in the Abu Dhabi sunshine and at night, this protected oasis flickers starry lighten shapes.
"Leaves of Light"- Tree - a bronze stainless still - by the Italian artist Giuseppe Penone
rises toward the roof where it reflects the sunlight. Germination -2016
Along the exterior walkways, there are several specious galleries, a restaurant and museum shop as well as vast center hall where the metal tree is showcased and few water pools in which canoe rowing can be observed (Jean Nouvel vision)
A global selection of around 600 masterpieces drawn from a growing permanent collection, is featured as well as human stories across civilizations and cultures. and a gallery dedicated to universal religions is shared.
And in Purim Timing...
Esther Fainting before Ahasuerus
Jean Francois de Troy 1730
Restaurant at the Museum by the wataer
The Hotel we stayed for 2 nights in Abu-Dhabi Hotel. Dusit Thani. - Abu -Dhabi
925 Sultan Bin Zayed The First Street (Al Muroor Road) - Abu Dhabi 971 2 6988888
A luxury 37 floors huge elegant, centrally located hotel
Out of the 3 hotels we stated over12 nights, this last one,including the food was the best.
In Summarybut. one need to be careful in choosing local Emirate operating tour company and its guides, Sensibility and efficiency are not yet ingrained in the the business culture of the ethnic non-civilian Tourism service givers,
Being the Ginny-pigs of the first ever tour that Kishrai Tarbut Tevel the (Israeli operating tour) dispatched into the Emirates, it was a successful one, despite some glitches, but mainly due to the excellent guidance of Prof Uzi Rabi and Architect Ran Shoham.
The random people which made up the group, and their less lovely personalities, ,
I could,, definitely do with-out...
It was a very eye-opening recommended visit but. one need to be careful in choosing local Emirate operating tour company and its guides, Sensibility and efficiency are not yet ingrained in the the business culture of the ethnic non-civilian Tourism service givers, or for t that matter, in other areas of service -giving.
And Back to Israel
# More fantastic Photos taken by Yuval Zaliouk can be found here