The decade-long wait is finally over with the inauguration of the newly-built £1-billion Louvre Abu Dhabi museum on Wednesday. The museum, with an enormous metallic-silver canopy over desert sands, will be seen as a place for lovers of art, culture and beauty.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi was officially inaugurated by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The opening ceremony was also attended by 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.
Macron praised the museum and called it a "bridge between civilisations." He said on the occasion: "Those who seek to say Islam is the destruction of other religions are liars."
Designed by France's Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the museum features around 600 artworks and 300 pieces on loan from France, including an 1887 self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci's "La Belle Ferronniere." The museum is paying hundreds of millions of dollars for the loaned artworks.
Among the exhibits is a statue of a sphinx dating back to the 6th Century BC, a Koran, a gothic Bible, and a Yemenite Torah, according to reports.
The museum was supposed to open in 2012 but was delayed due to financial issues. The doors of the museum will be opened to the public on November 11. According to reports, the museum is expected to see at least 5,000 visitors in its initial days.