Another thing I participated in this week was a Masterclass organized only for Abu Dhabi tour guides, at the new Martyrs Monument inaugurated end of November last year. I had planned to go here soon anyway, so I really welcomed this chance of an organized visit.
The Wahat al Karama is located in a strategic place right between the General Head Quarters of the Armed Forces of the UAE, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Al Bateen airport where the fallen heroes are returned to. It is rather surprising how big the area actually is, there is definitely more than meets the eye when you just drive passed it. It really is an impressive and beautifully symbolic monument.
We got to walk around with one of the local cultural guides, all got busy taking notes!
The Memorial Plaza, with the big amphitheater that can seat 1200 people, and the shallow reflective pool, which makes for great photos of the mosque. This pool can also be drained and filled again in just five minutes, which can leave room for military ceremonies such as the celebrations on Martyr's Day itself.
The Memorial, which is made up of 31 aluminum-clad tablets. They are all leaning on one another, to symbolize the unity, solidarity and mutual support between the citizens, the service men and women and our leaders. They are inscribed with a series of poems and verses by the late Sheikh Zayed and several other members of the Royal family.
This here is the "spine" of the whole monument, and it has the Pledge of Allegiance of the UAE Armed Forces engraved along the top, to represent the support the Armed Forces give to the nation.
Throughout the whole park, there is a channel of water that runs (inspired by the traditional Falaj irrigation system) from the entrance, under the panels and into an Infinity Pool, which symbolizes the infinite gratitude to the fallen heroes of the UAE:
The Pavilion of Honour. This is where each and every hero of the UAE is honoured with a name plate. They date from the start of the union in 1971 until, currently, 2016. The name plates are all made from aluminum recycled from vehicles in service with the UAE Armed Forces.
The seven glass panels in the middle of the Pavilion, represent the the seven Emirates:
We were there right on time to see the daily 5pm salute. How special.
Such a serene and beautiful site.
A bonus with these kind of workshops is that you get to reconnect and network with other Abu Dhabi Tour Guides. This is Karina, also from my guide course: