Visitors to this year’s Qasr Al Hosn Festival will be presented with an inspiring programme through an array of numerous performances and activities, fascinating workshops, interactive learning experiences reflecting Abu Dhabi’s rich cultural heritage.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Qasr Al Hosn Festival runs from the 3rd to 13th February 2016.
Organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the 2016 Qasr Al Hosn festival will be divided into five zones, including the new ‘Qasr Al Hosn’ zone, in addition to the returning Marine, Desert, Abu Dhabi Island and Oasis zones. The Cultural Foundation Building will also host a number of new and exciting workshops, and exhibitions reflecting the story of Abu Dhabi through artefacts, documents and the personal testimony of the UAE people and residents.
The new additions to the festival schedule serve to celebrate the cultural significance of the Fort as a national monument and cultural focus, as well as providing further exposure to the continuing efforts underway to conserve the building for generations to come.
In the new Qasr Al Hosn Zone, visitors can discover more about traditional Emirati architecture and learn about archaeology through workshops and live activities, to better understand the archaeological and architectural experience of the Fort.
The remaining four zones each depict a different aspect of traditional life through interactive activations, and workshops led by professional, artisans and workshops specialists and experts.
· Marine Zone acknowledges the seafaring heritage of the UAE and its people. In this area, visitors can meet boat builders, sailors and pearl divers sharing their stories and their skills or enjoy sail making demonstrations while listening to traditional sea chanting.
· Desert Zone pays homage to the desert and the Emirati culture, and offers visitors a chance to experience the food, crafts and animals that helped people to survive in the arid UAE desert environment.
· Abu Dhabi Island depicts life within the nascent settlement that later became the modern city. In this particular zone, guests can experience the importance of the Emirati traditions, from craft and cooking, to schooling and policing. Visitors will be able to enjoy the reconstruction of a traditional Emirati community including school, dukhoun producers, grocer, a cooking workshop and the opportunity to meet with members of the Al Hosn Police Force who used to protect the Fort and its surrounding areas.
· Lastly, the Oasis Zone will allow visitors to take part in the farming, gardening and building that came from the natural resources of the Oasis. Through a variety of activities, they can learn about how communities harvested food, built houses and created a variety of products from the palm tree. Highlights include tree climbing, date tasting and a botany class on the uses of indigenous plants in traditional medicine and cuisine.
The 2016 festival programme also boasts a number of new performances and exhibitions. This year, visitors are invited to enjoy three new live performances at the popular Festival Stage:
· Bab Al Khair: The Arabic comedy performance provides a lively cast of funny characters who will entertain people of all ages
· The Sky Show: A special performance where the birds of Al Ain Zoo are invited to interact with the audience
· The Night Safari: A performance narrating a story which takes two friends into the desert to look for new adventures. Along the way, they are introduced to a host of different animals native to the UAE. The storyline interweaves between the dual languages of Arabic and English to tell the story of the adventurers
Festival goers can also enjoy a number of new exhibitions held within the Cultural Foundation Building. These include:
· Archives and Memories: Capturing the Nation’s story brings together a number of key national collections into one exhibition. Contributions from The National Archives, Abu Dhabi Media, ADNOC, ADCO, Baynounah TV and the Crown Prince Court come together to tell the history of our nation. In this exhibition, different types of media in the collections are explored, including photography, newspapers and film to show how each medium records events and preserves memories in a different way.
· The Anatomy of a Photograph: Iconic Images from our past guides visitors through an immersive deconstruction of five iconic photographs of Abu Dhabi and an exploration of the hidden narratives that exist within them.
· Recollections of the Cultural Foundation highlights the significance of the Cultural Foundation Building to the community through the memories of the people of Abu Dhabi. Visitors are able to listen to the contributions of people who have witnessed or lived important moments in this building
With a packed schedule of entertaining and educational experiences, the 2016 Qasr Al Hosn Festival provides guests with the ideal opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the UAE, whilst also engaging with the continued conservation efforts in place to preserve the Fort as an important national monument.