This will ensure the protection and preservation of prominent sites in the capital…

Abu Dhabi dwellers and visitors alike, will unanimously agree that the essence of the capital lies in its inimitable portrayal of the emirates’ history and culture. So, it comes as welcome news that the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi has publicly revealed the first set of 64 modern heritage sites, requiring immediate and unconditional protection. No demolition applications will be allowed for these buildings, instead, priority will be given for them to be maintained and rehabilitated.

Images/video: Instagram, What’s On archive

While we’re all about bringing you the best in lifestyle, entertainment and brilliant brunches, we’re also as passionate about initiatives aimed at preserving, protecting and presenting the culture and heritage of this city. These architectural icons have stood the test of time and pull just as much weight as the country’s dazzling, ever-expanding skylines do, often serving as a bridge between the past, present and future in a nation evolving at a dizzying pace.

The list is a fascinating representation of a diverse collection of buildings, including a hospital, a theatre, a school, mosques, parks, hotels, markets, and commercial buildings among many others. At first glance, it almost feels synergistic with the diversity Abu Dhabi and the UAE have long represented.

Several time-renowned, history-laden buildings in the UAE are contained in the list, including the Al Manhal Palace, the first purpose-built presidential palace where the flag of the state was raised after the UAE joined the United Nations in 1971. Some of the other urban structures contained in the list include the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, The National Theatre, Shaabi Market, Etisalat Headquarters and Zayed Sports City, one of the capital’s premier sporting and event destinations as we know it today.

To take a closer look at all 64 structures, visit