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Tuesday 28 January 2020

UAE2020 Day 08: Qasr al Hosn

The best source of information on Qasr al Hosn can be found at its own website. Rather than re-write what is already an excellent write-up we will just direct you to Qasr al Hosn’s history here:

our first glimpse of the magnificent fort

selfies and wefies were in order

Sern's 'cup of tea'

first sight of the watch tower

within the hustle and bustle

stood an oasis of calm

a miniature of the fort

exquisitely done

against its bigger sibling

and frame by the city skyline

Walking up to the magnificent fort was in itself a breathtaking experience. A sense of calm washed over us as the hustle and bustle of the city is soon forgotten, and we were transported back to a time when things were quieter, simpler yet harsher. Since its first stones were laid in the 1760s, Abu Dhabi’s oldest building has witnessed the city grow into a bustling metropolis.

its time to enter

thru the entrance that awaited us

Sern was up first

Cat and Brendan followed soon after

while I lingered a bit

the cannon that stood guard

the trade towers in the distance

a cherished memento

Qasr al-Hosn is made up of an Inner Fort that was built in 1795 and an Outer Palace added in the 1940s. The site served as a center of political power throughout the southern Gulf and was home to the ruling family for nearly 200 years.

We were impressed with the restoration work done on this historic landmark in central Abu Dhabi. We were told that the first restoration work done in the 1980s was a botched job as the decision to plaster over the original structure proved the wrong one. 

we've entered the fort

cool and shady

view of the entrance from within

Cat is intrigued

the cliché never grows old: old meets new

the contrast is striking

someone feeling tired?

trudging up the watch tower

or is it the wind tunnel?

great view from up there

Qasr al-Hosn’s 2nd restoration process took nearly eleven years to complete from planning stages down to conserving the fort’s original details which had begun to show their age. Now that the restoration effort which was a painstaking process of revealing the original structure (albeit not in total) has been completed the fort has returned to its former glory. The oldest building on site is the watchtower, which represents a key turning point in Abu Dhabi’s history.

The fort’s museum hosts a variety of objects that detail the growth of the island from early settlement to the eventual center of government, due to its strategic location within great pearling grounds and along important trade routes.

as we entered the interior

plenty of reading material

We stopped by an area within the exhibition centre to watch a short video presentation depicting the fort, in the form of sand art:

We then wandered along through the exhibition area where more items of interest were on display. We had to admit that the exhibition, while large was very well organised and gave us clear and concise information on the fort and all it had to offer.

clear and concise

well worth the read

important artefacts

and relics

more reading material

entering a corridor

weapons from days gone by

but lethal nonetheless

daggers and canes?

centuries old pearls

massive ancient doors

easily 10 feet tall

to entertain His Majesty

His Majesty's dagger?

the great man himself

agreement to supply timber

one of the first ever passports issued

taking a peek 

His Majesty was a man of vision

describing the watch tower

sitting atop

The long hallways house chambers, each with a story to tell, and we would recommend you take the time to visit each chamber to truly immerse yourself in Abu Dhabi’s rich culture and history.

start of the long hallways

with chambers that tell its own story

walls that can 'breathe' again

my fascination knows no bounds

and plenty of that in sight

at the other end of the long hallway

a chamber, with a story to tell

We were also told that the Abu Dhabi Trade Centre tower tops are angled to align with this splendid fort. A true testament to both old and new Abu Dhabi!

stepping out into the sun

UAE's Cultural Foundation

responsible for making this a reality

an splendid oasis 

a perfect day for a stroll

lots of different architecture

different yet complementary

old meets new

cool and shaded

in perfect alignment

paying homage to its past

while celebrating its future

in perfect co-existence

Sern then took us to the adjacent building; the House of Artisans, a centre dedicated to the intangible heritage of the UAE.

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