Imagine a time when the uber modern city of Abu Dhabi was a quaint pearling and fishing settlement! Yes, a visit to Qasr Al Hosn right in the heart of the capital city will transport you to this era. Dating back to the 18th century, it’s the region’s oldest heritage site; it was once a defensive structure, later a palace which served as a residence to the ruling Nahyan family, and then the seat of government.
More than 230 years now, this elegant sandstone structure has still retained its character and remains as an impressive tribute to the region’s bygone era. So be prepared to travel back in time as you step into this well preserved national monument which is now converted into a museum. Discover the Inner Fort (built in 1795) and the Outer Palace (built in 1940s), while admiring its many art and artifacts (like weapons, images, maps etc) collected from as early as 6000 BC.
Know about the Bani Yas tribe in detail and see the region’s charming historical and cultural scenes coming to life through the large, interactive screens placed all around. You’ll further get to stand under the complex’s oldest structure - a coral and sea stone watch tower, and relive the life of ancient royals as you weave your way through its painstakingly restored rooms and hallways.
Your tickets also offer access to the House of Artisans where you’ll see the highly creative local artisans giving live demonstration of the region’s unique Emirati crafts. There is also the renovated Cultural Foundation which is the region’s first multipurpose community centre. It houses some strikingly intricate artworks created by the regional artists and conducts several inspiring cultural shows and workshops.
Finally, you’ll step into the Bait Al Gahwa. As the name indicates, it enlightens you on everything about the renowned Arabic coffee, including its interesting facts, significance in the Emirati culture, and meticulous preparation that highlight its diverse phases such as roasting, grounding and brewing.