ABU DHABI - The Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and President of France Emmanuel Macron, opened this evening the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum to bear the Louvre name outside France.
In attendance were King Mohammed VI of Morocco, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, and a host of guests representing several brotherly and friendly countries.
An iconic architectural masterpiece, Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first museum of its kind in the Arab world. It displays a unique a rare collection that spans the history of humanity, arranged on a chronological journey from prehistory to the present day, encompassing 12 chapters including the birth of the first villages; universal religions; cosmography; the magnificence of the royal court; and the modern world.
Ahead of the opening, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, received the heads of state upon their arrival to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The guests toured the different sections of the museum and marveled at the rare pieces on display of ancient masterpieces, including Bactrian Princess created in Central Asia at the end of the 3rd millennium BCE, a Grecian sphinx from the 6th century BCE, a Gothic Bible, as well as a winged dragon statue from China.
They also stopped at other ancient and contemporary pieces from the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and France and other countries.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, delivered the following speech: Your Majesties, Highnesses, Excellencies Al Salam alaykum We welcome you all to the UAE .. to our capital Abu Dhabi .. the capital of culture, arts, architecture and human innovation.
We welcome you and the whole world to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a unique and iconic masterpiece that Abu Dhabi is adding to the heritage of humanity.
Ladies and gentlemen; 4,000 years ago, our region saw the birth of the one of the oldest civilisations in the world, the Sumerian civilisation in the Mesopotamia. The Sumerian believed that the sky above us was in fact a large dome, while the earth was a flat disc, surrounded by a rim of mountains.
Then came the Babylonian civilisation .. likewise, they believed the sky was a large dome dotted with moving stars and comets and was carried by two mountains from the East and the West.
Today, we gather here under a new dome that tells the world we can meet, talk and come closer.
Welcome to the dome of the Louvre Abu Dhabi .. the dome of enlightenment .. in a region where the people of dark thoughts are attempting to bring back the ages of backwardness and ignorance.
Ladies and gentlemen; Louvre Abu Dhabi is an architectural masterpiece .. a cultural icon and an artistic platform that combines East with the West.
It symbolises our ability to build bridges of communication, in a world that they want it to be a scene for clash of civilisations.
It also reflects our ability to fight darkness with light .. ignorance with arts .. apathy with creativity .. extremism with artistic beauty, created by human minds thousands years ago.
Ladies and gentlemen; History is a continuous journey of cultural interaction among the nations. Our Arab and Islamic civiliastion was founded on previous civilisations. The European renaissance could only take off after interacting with the our Islamic civilization.
Today, we share a global civilization, represented by the Louvre Abu Dhabi .. a melting point for intellect and humanity .. a place for tolerance and interaction.
This landmark was made possible thanks to the deep-rooted relations between the UAE and France. It will be a turning point in the cultural scene in the region. There is a lot more to be done .. but we embark on our openness and on the French vast cultural experience, to achieve more.
From this platform, we call, not only for a cultural dialogue, but a cultural alliance that safeguards civilisations from their foes.
The UAE can never find a better ally and a friend than the Republic of France, to share that noble goal, and who is better than President Macron, who is participating with us today in opening the Louvre Abu Dhabi, to carry France’s message to the world. The message of a country that embraces the values of peace, tolerance, fraternity and cultural openness.
Ladies and gentlemen; The message of Louvre Abu Dhabi is that we draw our strength as humans from our interaction.. our strength is in our cultural exchange and in learning from each others' experiences. Our strength is in thinking alike .. in amity among peoples and in the alliance of civilisations.
At the end, I thank the Republic of France, represented by its President Emmanuel Macron, in its support to this great cultural achievement.
On behalf of myself, the people of the UAE, and in the name of those who advocate peace in the region and the whole world, I would like to thank the man behind the achievement .. thank you my brother Mohamed bin Zayed.
Your achievement is drawn from the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed. A legacy that you carry in your heart .. the legacy of love for the humanity and for interaction among different cultures and nations.
From here, we say that the Louvre Abu Dhabi will bring the best in the East and the West and a will be a meeting place for those who admire arts, beauty and culture all over the world.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2017.