Abu Dhabi set to unveil new cultural destination in December

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi says grand opening of Al Hosn will take place on December 7
Abu Dhabi set to unveil new cultural destination in December
By Sam Bridge
Fri 26 Oct 2018 10:47 AM

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) on Wednesday announced that the grand opening of Al Hosn, a new cultural destination located in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi, will take place on December 7.

Al Hosn is the city’s original urban block and will comprise four interrelated components - the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort, the Cultural Foundation, the National Consultative Council building, and the House of Artisans.

The official launch will be a celebration of Abu Dhabi’s rich history and culture, with days of public programming to mark the occasion, a statement said.

Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest and most significant heritage site in Abu Dhabi city, encompassing two iconic buildings - The Inner Fort dating back to around 1795 and the Outer Palace, which was built in the 1940s.

A witness to Abu Dhabi’s vibrant history, over the past two centuries it has previously been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, the consultative council and the national archives.

Now transformed into a museum following several years of rigorous and ambitious conservation works, Qasr Al Hosn is a national monument that traces the city’s development from a settlement reliant on fishing and pearling in the 18th Century, to a modern, global metropolis, with the fort now surrounded by Abu Dhabi’s skyscrapers and a dynamic downtown area.

The newly renovated premises of the Cultural Foundation will host a diverse visual and performing arts programme, alongside the opening of the first Children’s Library of its kind.

Cultural Foundation will re-open in phases with December 7 allowing access to the Visual Arts Centre, which will feature exhibition halls and art studios. The two remaining components – a theatre and the Children’s Library – will open in 2019.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman, DCT Abu Dhabi said: “Qasr Al Hosn retraces the history of the city of Abu Dhabi, our very first building. It stands as a constant in our evolving city. It is a testament to the heart and spirit of our people and the repository of our collective memories, and its reopening is a key moment for both the citizens of Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE.

"In addition, we are thrilled to reopen the Cultural Foundation, which has always played an integral role in the cultural scene of Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the region. With the Al Hosn site, we look to foster a sense of community and make a home for Emirati culture. It is a place to both reflect on our past and embrace the present, as we look to shape Abu Dhabi’s future.”

The masterplan is divided diagonally into two areas with distinctive and coherent identities. On one side is the historic area around Qasr Al Hosn which re-establishes the original setting of a solitary building on a sand plain, with an organic and natural coastal desert landscape.

On the other side is a modern heritage area around the Cultural Foundation, an urban city grid layout with a more man-made, geometrical expression of hard surfaces destined for a series of cultural activities.

Located alongside Qasr Al Hosn and Cultural Foundation, House of Artisans will serve as a focal point for the promotion and preservation of the UAE’s intangible heritage.

It will serve as a centre for not only preserving and displaying the traditional crafts of the United Arab Emirates, but will also enable the transmission of knowledge and skills around these crafts, ensuring their future survival for generations to come.

With a focus on the core skills of weaving, palm braiding, and embroidery, House of Artisans aims to bring these traditional crafts of the past to the heart of contemporary culture, and will offer training courses, educational workshops and other public events.

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