The much-awaited and iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi museum opened its doors to the public on Saturday and euphoric residents made a beeline to get the first glimpse of the Jean Nouvel masterpiece. The museum opened its doors at 10 AM with its director Manuel Rabaté welcoming the guests. Visitors were greeted with a traditional Al Ayyalah dance performance. According to officials, 1,000 extra tickets for the opening day were quickly snapped up online and tickets for the whole week were also sold out.

“Just three more minutes to go, and I am inside Louvre,” said Jordanian Manas Abdeljaber, who drove all the way from Dubai with her 67-year-old mother. 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. Four-day festivities will mark the public opening with an array of entertainment activities including headline acts by international artists, Gulf News reported.

American choreographer Lucinda Childs will give a surprise performance and Emirati oud maestro Faisal Al Saari will entertain visitors in the late afternoon. In the evening, French pyrotechnic wizards Groupe F will perform a lightshow that introduces the various collections of the museum. Grammy award-winning musician Matthieu Chedid, known as -M- will also enthrall the audience. The museum will display more than 600 valuable artefacts in its 23 galleries and will symbolise the epitome of human connection and unity. It will also showcase some 300 artefacts loaned from French museums and includes a temporary exhibition area and other facilities.

The art pieces will span the end of the third millennium BC, to the Medieval Era, the Renaissance and the neo-classical period, right through to the contemporary era, thus covering the entirety of human existence. Hailed as a monument to the global confluence of cultures “that will broadcast tolerance and acceptance” the museum was inaugurated last week in a ceremony attended by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, French President Emmanuel Macron and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. The building is made up of a huge silver dome that weighs around 7,500 tonnes. It features a geometric structure of 7,850 stars and as the sun passes above, lights filters through the perforations in the dome to create an inspiring effect within the museum known as the “rain of light”, inspired by the palm trees of Abu Dhabi.