The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) announced that the much-anticipated grand opening of Al Hosn, a new cultural destination located in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi, will take place on December 7, 2018.
Al Hosn is the city’s original urban block and will comprise four interrelated components: the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort, the Cultural Foundation, the National Consultative Council building, and the House of Artisans. The official launch will be a celebration of Abu Dhabi’s rich history and culture, with days of public programming to mark the occasion.
Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest and most significant heritage site in Abu Dhabi city, encompassing two iconic buildings: The Inner Fort dating back to around 1795 and the Outer Palace, which was built in the 1940s. A witness to Abu Dhabi’s vibrant history, over the past two centuries it has previously been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, the consultative council and the national archives.
Now transformed into a museum following several years of rigorous and ambitious conservation works, Qasr Al Hosn is a national monument that traces the city’s development from a settlement reliant on fishing and pearling in the 18th Century, to a modern, global metropolis, with the fort now surrounded by Abu Dhabi’s skyscrapers and a dynamic downtown area.
The newly renovated premises of the Cultural Foundation will host a diverse visual and performing arts programme, alongside the opening of the first Children’s Library of its kind. To mark the occasion of its reopening in December, the Foundation’s Visual Arts Centre will present a landmark exhibition which will focus on the building’s history as a beacon for local artists. Cultural Foundation will re-open in phases with December 7 allowing access to the Visual Arts Centre, which will feature exhibition halls and art studios. The two remaining components – a theatre and the Children’s Library – will open in 2019.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, DCT Abu Dhabi said, “Qasr Al Hosn retraces the history of the city of Abu Dhabi, our very first building. It stands as a constant in our evolving city. It is a testament to the heart and spirit of our people and the repository of our collective memories, and its reopening is a key moment for both the citizens of Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE. In addition, we are thrilled to reopen the Cultural Foundation, which has always played an integral role in the cultural scene of Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the region. With the Al Hosn site, we look to foster a sense of community and make a home for Emirati culture. It is a place to both reflect on our past and embrace the present, as we look to shape Abu Dhabi’s future.”
Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary, DCT Abu Dhabi said, “With the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort and the Modern Heritage Building of the Cultural Foundation sitting side by side, Al Hosn will be a year-round destination open to the wider community including nationals wishing to know more about their heritage, to art-lovers and intellectuals exchanging ideas and engaging in the active cultural scene. We wish to create once again a true home for creativity and learning, dialogue and debate, a space which celebrates not just our past but our contemporary Emirati culture as well. Al Hosn will stand as a proud representation of the identity of Abu Dhabi with an innovative offering of cultural and inspirational experiences.”