The Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open its doors to the public in November, bringing to the Gulf Mesopotamian artefacts and post-impressionist masterpieces in the first Louvre-branded museum outside of Paris.
Housing 600 works of art, including 300 loaned by 13 French museums for the inaugural year, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is described as the "first universal museum" in the Arab world.
"At a time when culture is under attack... this is our joint response," French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said at a news conference on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi to announce the November 11 opening date.
The museum has been a decade in the making and is opening five years behind schedule.
Among the works on loan to Abu Dhabi are Leonardo da Vinci's La Belle Ferronniere from the Louvre -- which houses the world's largest collection of art -- and Vincent van Gogh's self-portrait from the Musee d'Orsay.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel of France, the "museum city" is reminiscent of an Arab medina, enveloped by a part arabesque, part futuristic silvery dome that lets in the light in patterns mimicking leaves of the palm trees of the Gulf.
While the Louvre Abu Dhabi will not lack its Rodins and Gaugins, for some, the real heart of the museum is in its narration of ancient civilisations through artefacts acquired by the United Arab Emirates.
The planned opening comes a decade after France and the UAE agreed a 30-year partnership worth $1.1bn under which many top French museums will loan art to Abu Dhabi.
French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to attend the inauguration of the museum, which had originally been scheduled to open in 2012.
The "complex, ambitious project", in the words of museum director Manuel Rabate, has faced delays in funding and construction.