Tuesday, 12 December 2017 11:52 GMT
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Video: Euphoria sweeps first visitors at Louvre Abu Dhabi

(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Euphoric residents made a beeline to get the first glimpse of Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saturday morning when the Jean Nouvel masterpiece opened to the public.

"Just three more minutes to go, and I am inside Louvre," said Jordanian Manas Abdeljaber, as she could not contain her excitement. She drove all the way from Dubai with her 67-year-old mother Naval.

director welcoming the first visitors at
Video by Anjana Shankar/ Khaleej Times
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"I am so excited. I have seen the Louvre in Paris, and now I want to be among the first inside Louvre," Naval told Khaleej Times.

Opening day gala event includes

> Al Ayyala by Mubarak Al Otaiba's group at 10am

> Contemporary dance choreographed by Lucinda Childs at 11am

> Parade showcasing traditional Doyon masks by Awa Troupe of sangha at 3pm

> Chinese parade of lions and dragons while etihad Airways will fly-past of the dome at 4pm

> Self-taught Emirati composer and musician Faisal Al Saari's performance at 5pm

> Korean musical ensemble at the auditorium plaza at 6pm

> French pyrotechnic show at 7.30pm

> Headline performances will take place at the museum's plaza at 9pm

The museum opened its doors to public at sharp 10am with its director Manuel Rabat welcoming the guests. There was a traditional Al Ayyalah dance performance outside the museum.

Two girls - Kiyana (7) and Kalyssa (5) - were the first to receive a complimentary ticket.

"I feel lucky. I love art and this is my favourite museum," an excited Kiyana told Khaleej Times.

Their mother Dr Zahra Jiwani said they have been to many museums around the world. "My kids have been to museums in New York, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore to name a few. But this one is really special as it is in our own city," said Jiwani.

Dr. Zahra Jiwani from Canada with her daughters Kiyana and Kalyssa are the first visitors to , which opened to the public today.
Video by Anjana Shankar/ Khaleej Times
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French expats Malika Zaarour and Carole Borie said they did not want to miss the Day 1 of Louvre.

"We are from Bordeaux, and have never been to the Louvre in Paris. But we don't want to miss this one," said Borie.

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People from all walks of life braved the morning sun to get hold of the 1,000 tickets that are on sale on the opening day.

Online tickets for the whole week are sold out, according to ticketing officials.
By 11am, museum staff was putting up umbrellas to offer shade to the visitors lining up for the tickets. Water was also made available for the visitors.

"The current waiting time to get in is at least two hours. It can go up to three hours, too," said an official.

Early morning rush on the opening day of .
Video: Ryan Lim/Khaleej Times
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But art lovers remain undaunted.

"I am not going anywhere even if it means waiting the whole day," said Fahad, an Arab expat.

Tickets are priced at Dh60. For visitors between 13 and 22, tickets cost Dh30. Children below 13 enter free.

opens to public: Early morning rush on the opening day at the museum. Video: Ryan Lim/Khaleej Times
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Louvre to become the people's museum

Xin Zhong has been in Abu Dhabi for almost two years now. For this Chinese lawyer, November 11/11, when Louvre Abu Dhabi opens for the public, is one of her most awaited moments since she became a UAE expat.

"I have already bought tickets for my whole family. We have been waiting for this occasion for long," said Zhong.

Zhong is among the art enthusiasts who have taken the Dh450 annual Louvre membership that will allow 'unparalleled access to Louvre Abu Dhabi's exceptional collections, exhibitions, events and special programmes.

How to get there From Abu Dhabi

Take Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Highway (E12), which can be accessed from Corniche Road or Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street or Zayed the First Street. Take exit right after Sheikh Khalifa Bridge to the museum.

From Dubai

Start on the Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Road (E11) and take Abu Dhabi-Shahama Road (E10). Switch to Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Highway and take exit before Sheikh Khalifa Bridge.Taxi fare from Abu Dhabi city will cost between Dh30 and Dh40Catch these buses to get there: Numbers 192 and 193

Museum Timings 10am to 10pm

Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday

10am to 11pm

Thursday and Friday

Monday closed

Ticket Costs Dh60 - for those aged above 22 years
Dh30 - for those aged between 13 and 22 years
Free entry - for children aged 13 and under

"I have been to the Musee du Louvre in Paris several times, and I have spent many long hours admiring the artefacts. With Louvre Abu Dhabi in my own city, I can see myself going to the museum very often."

Arab world's own Louvre museum was officially inaugurated on November 8 in a gala ceremony attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; French President Emmanuel Macron; and Morocco's King Mohammed VI.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi has evoked unprecedented interest with media outlets from across the world reporting on the museum's opening.

Zhong said her friends in China are eager to visit the museum that has been in the making for more than a decade. "Many of my friends are planning to fly down to Abu Dhabi in the coming days just to see this masterpiece."

Abdul Muqsit, an IT professional from UK said Louvre Abu Dhabi's opening has hogged the limelight across the globe. "There is massive interest in the first Universal Museum in the Arab world. The museum has put Abu Dhabi on the world cultural map."

Louvre has become the buzz word among the city residents who have watched the museum taking shape on the Saadiyat Island. In what looks like a floating galaxy, the silver-toned dome with perforated Arabesque patterns form a "rain of light" effect, as conceived and designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect, Jean Nouvel.

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The museum will display more than 600 valuable artefacts in its 23 galleries and will symbolise the epitome of human connection and unity. The art pieces will span the end of the third millennium BC, to the Medieval Era, the Renaissance and the Neoclassical period, right through to the contemporary era, thus covering the entirety of human existence.

People's museum On November 11, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will transform into a people's museum when it will throw its doors open to the public. More than 4000 online tickets have been already sold out and officials are expecting a big rush for the 1000 tickets that are up for grabs on an opening day.

Many residents said they are eager to gain access to the museum on Day 1 itself. "I am driving all the way from Sharjah to see the museum on the first day. I think that will be a special experience," said Sarah Othaib, a university graduate.

"I have stood in the line for hours to see Eiffel Tower and Louvre in Paris. Now I can proudly say that I have a museum in my own country," said Othaib who grew up in the UAE.

will mark the public opening with an array of entertainment activities including headline acts by International artists.

The performances taking place during the afternoon and the evening from (Saturday) November 11 to (Tuesday) November 14, will be held in the auditorium under the electrifying dome. A spectacular light show will also take place during the massive four-day celebration. Tickets for the headline performances can be purchased for Dh200 on the Louvre Abu Dhabi website, or at the museum.

Anjana Sankar Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.

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Video: Euphoria sweeps first visitors at Louvre Abu Dhabi

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