ABU DHABI, The Founder's Memorial, a permanent national tribute commemorating the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, welcomed members of the public for the first time today as it celebrated its official opening.

Situated on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, the memorial invites visitors to embark on a journey of discovery into the life and legacy of the UAE's founding father.

Established to celebrate Sheikh Zayed's visionary leadership and vast influence on his country and the wider world, the Founder's Memorial encompasses 3.3 hectares of beautifully landscaped space which is free to access and open to the public on a daily basis.

The centrepiece of the site is 'The Constellation', a monumental public artwork consisting of more than 1,300 geometric shapes which form a dynamic three-dimensional portrait of Sheikh Zayed.

At sunset, the shapes of The Constellation are illuminated and shine like stars against the night sky, bringing the stunning portrait to life. To witness this moment for the first time, many visitors came to gather at The Founder's Memorial around sunset for the first official illumination of the artwork, which is set to take place daily fifteen minutes after sundown.

Visitors to the Welcome Centre enjoyed a series of fascinating multimedia presentations exploring Sheikh Zayed's life and values, together with rarely-seen footage, personal stories, articles and interviews with those who knew and loved him.

Yousef Al Obaidli, General Manager of The Founder's Memorial, said, "We are delighted to welcome the public to experience this magnificent tribute to Sheikh Zayed for the first time. This inspiring experience allows visitors to know more about his life and values as a leader and as a human, through art, landscape, words and stories.

During the opening day, our Cultural Tour Guides have welcomed a large number of visitors and educational institutes and ensured they enjoy the artwork of The Constellation. This memorial spreads peace and love, and highlights Sheikh Zayed's timeless wisdom, which remains a guiding light for the UAE and its people. It is a moment of great pride to welcome visitors to our space, where they can gain a deeper understanding of the character of our nation's founding father."

Open daily from 09:00 to 22:00, the Welcome Centre is also the starting point for complimentary tours of the space. Designed to enhance the visitor experience, these are led by highly knowledgeable Emirati Cultural Tour Guides and available in both English and Arabic.

Source: Emirates News Agency