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Ancestral home of the Al Nahyan, Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest building on Abu Dhabi Island
Qasr Al Hosn is a key point of reference in terms of the UAE history and culture as it is the oldest landmark on Abu Dhabi island.
The fort was closed to the public for renovation for a few years but since December 2018 the whole block located between Zayed The First street, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street and Shk Rashid Bin Saeed Streets has now been reopened.
We spent an entire afternoon wandering around, from the first art exhibition at the Cultural Fundation, to a walk inside the block around the artificial lake before heading to Qasr Al Hosn.
While the visit to the cultural fundation is free of charge, visitors will pay 30AED per person (15AED under 12 and free of charge under 6 years old) to enter and visit Qasr Al Hosn and it is worth it!
Upon arrival we can’t help but notice and be amazed by the contrast between the majestic white building that stands in the midst of the Capital surrounded by the new modern towers.
It is almost surreal to visit such a heritage site downtown offering uncomparable views over the city with the buildings surrounding the fort that showcase the different architectural trends of the last few decades.
Make sure to stay long enough in the afternoon as the sunlight over the green glass buildings at Fotouh Al Khair mall and the buildings nearby is just fantastic from the first floor of the South wing.
After getting your tickets at the visitor information, there is a vertical model of the fort showing the different steps of this evolution.
The inner fort
We started our visit with the inner fort. The exhibition traces the story of Qasr Al Hosn and the many historic events that it witnessed. It explores the everyday life in the fort, also shows how this historic landmark was both once a royal home and a busy administrative centre.
Films, interactives and oral histories bring these stories to life, together with original objects and treasures from the past.
There is also a wonderful digital timeline not to be missed that goes back from the twentieth century to current time with a mix of black and white and coloured images from Abu Dhabi, retracing the different dates of construction of the actual city landmarks such as Maqta bridge, Emirates Palace or Al Bateen Airport to name a few.
The outer palace
Once in the outer palace, there is a lot more to check out inside the East and South wings. Visitors can quietly wander over the two floors of the two wings as there is a lot of discover. While the East wing housed governance and administrative functions and was a public area where the community was welcome, the South Wing was the private domain of the ruling family. This wing contains many personal mementoes and artifacts recreating Sheikh Zayed Shakhbout Bin Sultan al Nayhan’s time.
Each room is dedicated to a specific theme and allows us to discover in more depth how the Sheikh and the Sheika used to live in their everyday life.
QASR AL HOSN
Saturday – Thursday: 9 am – 7 pm
Friday: 12 noon – 8 pm
Website | www.qasralhosn.ae
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