In a city that seemingly represents all things new and bold, there’s a historic structure in the heart of the city that simply must be on any visitor’s cultural itinerary: Qasr Al Hosn.
In a nation of soaring skyscrapers and futuristic architecture, buildings like Qasr Al Hosn are rare. Located just off the Corniche, Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest coral and stone structure in the city. It serves as a subject of immense historical and archaeological importance, as it is one of the few historical buildings left as the modern city soared around it.
Built in 1761, it originally served as a watchtower for what was Abu Dhabi’s only well, and in 1793 it became a small fort under the command of Shakhbut Dhiyab Al Nahyan. The Inner Fort exhibition traces the story of Qasr Al Hosn and the many historic events it has witnessed, from the exploration of the settlement of Abu Dhabi island to everyday life in the Fort, and how this historic landmark served once as both a ruling family home and a busy administrative centre.
Qasr Al Hosn reopened in late 2018 with a host of new offerings in addition to the renovated fort. The city block now features the Al Hosn Palace, the Cultural Foundation, the House of Artisans and soon to open is a Children’s Library and theatre.
Adjacent to the fort, the House of Artisans is dedicated to the safeguarding and the promotion of the UAE’s intangible heritage. Exhibitions, workshops, and training courses that focus on traditional Emirati handicrafts such as Al Sadu (weaving), Khoos (palm frond braiding), and Talli (embroidery) will enable the transmission of knowledge and pass on the skills around these crafts, ensuring their future survival.
The crafts represented in House of Artisans celebrate the creative and artistic relationship between the people of the UAE and their use of locally available natural resources. Within the diverse landscapes of the UAE — from the desert, to the oases, to the coast and sea — artisans have developed skills to meet functional and economic needs.
Bait Al Gahwa is an initiative dedicated to preserving coffee’s important link to Arabian hospitality through the transmission of the tradition to future generations.
No visit to Abu Dhabi is complete without a visit to Qasr Al Hosn to learn the history and culture of your host country.
Visit Qasralhosn.ae to learn more or book your tour
Published on March 2019