But now the news that culture vultures in the city have been desperate to hear has arrived.
The glittering crown jewel in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District is set to be a huge tourist attraction.
The striking structure, the bold vision of award-winning architect Jean Nouvel, features a dome made out of 7,850 unique stars, creating a dazzling look that makes the museum every inch the work of art itself. Sunlight filters through eight layers of cladding, creating a stunning ‘rain of light’ effect. The eye-catching dome measures 180m in diameter and weighs 7,500 tonnes – almost as much as one of Paris’s other big attractions, the Eiffel Tower. So, even the building will be a sight to behold.
But so will the artwork held within it. Under the agreement signed back in 2007, French museums will provide four exhibitions every year for the next 15 years. The impressive venue will also be home to a state-of-the-art research centre with links to universities and scholars, both locally and internationally.
The museum will display art, manuscripts and objects of historical, cultural and sociological significance from all over the world.
Louvre Abu Dhabi will boast more than 600 artworks, spanning myriad cultures and periods, including 300 masterpieces on loan from 13 key institutions, including famous works from masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Henri Matisse and Edouard Manet. The culture spot will also feature works specially commissioned by renowned, international, contemporary artists.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi will be the very first universal museum (the history of art will be displayed in periods of time rather than by country or movement) in the entire Arab region.