Held under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the annual Qasr Al Hosn Festival will take place in Abu Dhabi city from February 11th to 21st, 2015. The festival will enthral visitors with an innovative public programme dedicated to honouring the UAE's rich culture and history.
Organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, the festival celebrates the traditions and culture of Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Authority, said, "Qasr Al Hosn is truly the heart of Abu Dhabi's cultural scene and one of the structures that represents rich Emirati history. The aim behind the Festival is to engage with the community and give the public rare access to the fort during its restoration and to collectively appreciate the centuries of Emirati culture which has shaped the UAE of today." "Through Qasr Al Hosn Festival, we appreciate the efforts of our ancestors by passing down centuries of information to those visiting from across the UAE and abroad. The fort has been the source of inspiration for so many, and through the festival, we hope to strengthen appreciation of Emirati culture and identity, and harvest pride and honour for all those who take part," added Sheikh Sultan.
The Qasr Al Hosn Fort is the symbolic birthplace of the capital of the UAE and had for generations housed the ruling Al Nahyan family, as the city developed over the years. Today, the fort represents centuries of Emirati history and culture, and the festival is held annually to celebrate the UAE and its identity, and to honour the UAE's founders and their visionary leadership.
Held in the grounds of Qasr Al Hosn, the 2015 festival edition will shed light on the fort's conservation process and its former functions, and will give visitors access to the inner fort, as well as the National Consultative Council Chamber. The public will have access to areas of the fort that have never before been open to the public, such as the living quarters. Mediation and interpretation tools will be used across the fort areas to facilitate the visit and to explain the conservation techniques. In addition to the organised tour, a Qasr Al Hosn exhibition will be launched during the festival and will narrate the significance of the fort and its historical context.
Besides the fort, the Cultural Foundation will also be open to the public. A comprehensive public programme including exhibitions, activities and installations will highlight the building's significance as a landmark of Abu Dhabi's modern heritage and will introduce the process of conserving modern heritage while also reviving the spirit of the site.
The programme will continue to celebrate the collective memory of the site and revive the important moments that took place in the Cultural Foundation which have been intrinsic to the development of Abu Dhabi's cultural scene.
The programme will include the homecoming of the National Pavilion, United Arab Emirates' exhibition from the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale Di Venezia. It will also feature "Lest We Forget: Structures of Memory in the UAE", a music programme themed around the UAE's intangible heritage, specially-commissioned artworks by Emirati artists, the cultural experience exhibition, "Gahwa", that celebrates the Emirati tradition of the Gahwa rituals in a modern interpretive experience and the participation of non-profit community organisations to promote their initiatives focused on UAE culture and heritage.