By Sean-Paul Doran
The historic site welcomes visitors from December 7 after a decade of renovations
One of Abu Dhabi’s most historic landmarks re-opens to the public this week with an exciting array of new reasons to visit.
Qasr Al Fosn has stood proudly at the heart of the city in one form or another since the 1790s and holds a special place in its history.
It closed in 2008 to undergo extensive and careful renovation, but it will be welcoming visitors again from Friday, December 7, with a week of celebrations.
Changes include a reconstructed National Consultative Council building and Cultural Foundation, with a state-of-the-art children’s library to open next year.
HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi said: “Qasr Al Hosn embodies the heritage of Abu Dhabi, and a poignant witness to the historic and fundamental milestones in the development of our country.
“At the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, we are proud to re-introduce this cultural monument after it has been preserved, restored and renovated to become part of Al Hosn, an unparalleled cultural destination in the heart of the city.
“It reflects the UAE’s ambitious vision, which is being consolidated by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, that is to enhance the value of the people throughout its development, based on its history, heritage and culture as manifested in Al Hosn - a place which not only encapsulates the evolution of Abu Dhabi and its eventful and fascinating memory, but also sets our vision for our country’s creative future.”
Qasr Al Hosn is arguably the most significant heritage site in Abu Dhabi city, encompassing two buildings: The Inner Fort, built around 1795, to protect the settlement of Abu Dhabi established on the island in the 1760s, and the Outer Palace, built in the 1940s.
Over the past two centuries, it has served as a home to the ruling family, the seat of government, the consultative council and the national archives.
HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “Al Hosn reflects the richness and diversity of our Emirati cultural and historical treasures.
“Its opening represents a new phase in Abu Dhabi’s cultural plans which reflect the unique cultural features that characterise our society and drive our people towards greater creativity.”
The opening of the Al Hosn site will see a week of celebrations from December 7 to 15, including free tours, events and musical performances.
It will also include activities exploring Emirati history and culture, from traditional Talli embroidery, rope-making and khoos weaving to learning about how the first fishing nets were cast and made, fish salted, and oysters opened.
For more information, visit www.alhosn.ae