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Abu Dhabi

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Qasr Al Hosn reopens to the public on 7th December with a week of celebrations

A sneak peak into Qasr Al Hosn. Image Credit: Mark Ruppert

The heritage site, Qasr Al Hosn opens after refurbishment and if you are visiting you will see interconnected areas such as the historic Fort, the National Consultative Council building, the Cultural Foundation and the House of Artisans. The official launch will be a celebration of the emirate’s rich history and culture, with a week of public events and programmes to mark the occasion.

A sneak peak into Qasr Al Hosn. Image Credit: Mark Ruppert


Based in the centre of town, Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest and most significant heritage site in Abu Dhabi city, encompassing two iconic buildings: The Inner Fort, which was 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 been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, the consultative council and the national archives.

Now transformed into a national monument following several years of rigorous and ambitious conservation works, Qasr Al Hosn traces the city’s development from a settlement reliant on fishing and pearling in the 18th Century, to a modern, global metropolis.

Visitors may also visit the historic National Consultative Council building, site of the early discussions and negotiations on the unification of the emirates. The Inner Fort exhibition traces the story of Qasr Al Hosn and the many historic events it has witnessed, exploring the settlement of Abu Dhabi island, everyday life in the Fort and showing how this historic landmark was once both a ruling family home and a busy administrative centre.

The Outer Palace was constructed by Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the 1940s. The rooms display the stories of the people who lived in the Palace and their lives. Visitors can explore the personal quarters of Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan, or part in the Ruler’s Majlis.

Films, interactive displays and oral histories bring these stories to life, together with original artifacts and treasures from the past

A sneak peak into Qasr Al Hosn. Image Credit: Mark Ruppert


The newly renovated premises of the Cultural Foundation will host a diverse programme in its new Visual Arts Centre, including a landmark inaugural exhibition focusing on the building’s history as a beacon for UAE artists. The Cultural Foundation will re-open in phases with 7 December allowing access to the Visual Arts Centre, which in addition to the exhibition halls will feature workshops and art studios. The two remaining components – a 900-seat theatre and the first Children’s Library of its kind – will open in 2019.

A sneak peak into Qasr Al Hosn. Image Credit: Mark Ruppert


The House of Artisans is an initiative dedicated to the safeguarding and promotion of the UAE’s intangible heritage. Exhibitions, workshops and training courses focusing on traditional Emirati handicrafts such as Al-Sadu (weaving), Khoos (palm frond braiding) and Talli (embroidery) will enable the all-important transmission of knowledge and skills around these crafts, ensuring their future survival


The opening of Al Hosn site will be marked with a week-long celebration from 7 to 15 December 2018. Free tours, events and musical performances will bring the site’s history to life and offer visitors a glimpse into the story of Abu Dhabi and its people. The opening week programming will 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.

Entry to House of Artisans, Cultural Foundation, and the landscape is free, excluding Qasr Al Hosn, special workshops and events.

Tickets for the Qasr Al Hosn permanent exhibition are AED 30.

For pricing on ticketed workshops and events, please visit

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