Discover the history of Abu Dhabi’s oldest building which is celebrated between February 28 and March 9 in the form of an exquisite festival.
Image – slleong flickr
Abu Dhabi welcomes tourists all year round, many of whom are there by the gorgeous weather, first-class hotels, relaxing spas and retail opportunities. In spite of its contemporary attractions however, the quintessential Abu Dhabi is rooted in the past: in the buildings, art, museums and exhibits that recount a rich and turbulent history.
For a true taste of Abu Dhabi’s past, visitors should time their trip to coincide with Qasr al Hosn Festival. This year, it’s scheduled to take place between February 28 and March 9 at Qasr al Hosn Fort, Abu Dhabi’s oldest building. A series of historical exhibits, educational talks and interactive presentations will bring the past to life and grant an unprecedented insight into the Abu Dhabi of yore. While the festival promises to be an educational experience, that’s not to say it will be a sombre one. Expect to witness a colourful blend of food on sale, as well as arts and crafts, souk stalls and aromatic food outlets.
image – Miss Rogue flickr
The fort itself was established around 1760 when a watchtower was erected to guard the waterfront. Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab then turned it into a fully-fledged fort which is currently undergoing extensive restoration. It’s expected to be fully opened as a tourist attraction once work is completed. In the meantime, Qasr al Hosn Festival offers plenty to keep visitors entertained.
Throughout the ten-day festival, a range of talks will be hosted in both English and Arabic, giving visitors a chance to learn about 250 years of Emirati history. One of the undoubted highlights of the festival will be a show entitled ‘Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation’ by Franco Dragone, who was lauded for his work directing House of Dancing Water.
Specially designed for Qasr al Hosn Festival, Dragone’s show will combine music, dancing and stunning effects, all held beneath the canopy of a 5,600-square-metre tent which is one of the largest in the world. During the course of the 75-minute show, guests will be mesmerised by the spectacle of 70 accomplished performers revealing the hidden stories and secrets behind the historic fort. With professional acrobats, dancers and gymnasts, the show promises to entertain and educate in equal measure.
Guests who find themselves staying in Abu Dhabi during early March will be in prime position to enjoy this extravagant festival at their leisure. Combining the best elements of the old world and the new, Qasr al Hosn Festival is a cultural highlight that is not to be missed.