The UAE’s medley of historic achievements and future plans is best seen in Abu Dhabi. In among its stupendous skyscrapers and record-breaking buildings are links to its illustrious past, where visitors can journey back through time, to when Abu Dhabi was a humble pearl-diving village.
With the ambitious construction of the cultural Saadiyat Island, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the emirate is fast becoming a global cultural hotspot. However, while these impressive galleries and exhibitions will showcase local, national and international pieces, there are many locations you can visit, where you’ll be granted access to artefacts just from Abu Dhabi.
Qasr al Hosn, or the White Fort, is Abu Dhabi’s oldest building, and all visitors to the emirate should pay it a visit. Learn about the city and its people through historic tales and exhibitions, and discover about the city’s transformation. Starting out as a watchtower defending the only freshwater well in the city, Qasr al Hosn has always been at the central point of Abu Dhabi’s ruling families. The Qasr al Hosn Centre is filled with artefacts and finds to help you discover Abu Dhabi’s story. The Centre is free to visit, and is open all-year round.
The Heritage Village near the Marina Mall is another top destination to visit. Providing an intriguing glimpse into the lives of the Emiratis from years gone by, you’ll be able to learn the ways of Arabia. From a central campfire with coffee pots and goats’ hair tents, an open museum is home to a number of reconstructed scenes. You can watch craftsmen demonstrate traditional skills, such as pottery and metal work, while women will weave and spin. You may even get the chance to try it out yourself!
From the Al Ain Palace and National Museum, to the Hili Archaeological Garden and Heritage Theme Park, Abu Dhabi has much to offer for those wanting to discover its history. Why not visit the Classic Cars Museum too?
If you want to learn about Abu Dhabi’s traditions, and truly emerge in the emirate’s way of life, there are many avenues to take. Visit a falconry show or the national falcon hospital, try Ayala dancing, or meet an Arabian horse or a Saluki – a breed of dog indigenous to the desert and its Bedouin tribes. For a more relaxing pursuit, drink coffee and eat dates, and marvel at henna artists.