Qasr Al Hosn Fort Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/XPRESS

Event details

Organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the 2016 Qasr Al Hosn festival is a chance for you to learn more about the history of Abu Dhabi and how the UAE came to be. Not only will there be experiences for everyone, but fun activities such as camel and horse riding will keep the children entertained.

Where Qasr Al Hosn Fort, Al Hosn, Downtown Abu Dhabi

When Wednesday, February 3 to Saturday, February 13, 2016 Timings 4pm to 11pm daily

Tickets Dh10, purchase on the door. Children aged 4-years and younger enter free

Parking Parking is located in the surrounding streets but it will be busy. Visitors are advised to travel by taxi

Website Qasr Al Hosn Facebook Qasr Al Hosn Twitter @QasrAlHosn Instagram @Qasrlhosn

Special events

February 3 The Shaikh's Parade takes place at 6.30pm and lasts for an hour

February 7 Ladies Day. The Festival is open to women and children only from 4pm to 11pm


The festival is divided into five zones, including the new ‘Qasr Al Hosn’ zone, in addition to the returning Marine, Desert, Abu Dhabi Island and Oasis zones. The Cultural Foundation Building will also host a number of new and exciting workshops, and exhibitions reflecting the story of Abu Dhabi through artefacts, documents and the personal testimony of the UAE people and residents.

The new additions to the festival schedule serve to celebrate the cultural significance of the Fort as a national monument and cultural focus, as well as providing further exposure to the continuing efforts underway to conserve the building for generations to come.

Qasr Al Hosn Zone

Visitors can discover more about traditional Emirati architecture and learn about archaeology through workshops and live activities, to better understand the archaeological and architectural experience of the Fort. 

Marine Zone

The importance of the seafaring heritage of the UAE and its people can’t ne understated. In a time before oil, it was the cornerstone of the nation’s income. In this area, visitors can meet boat builders, sailors and pearl divers sharing their stories and their skills or enjoy sail making demonstrations while listening to traditional sea chanting.

Desert Zone

What is the UAE without the desert? The Desert Zone pays homage to the desert and the Emirati culture which it is responsible for. It offers visitors a chance to experience the food, crafts and animals that helped people to survive in the arid environment for thousands of years.

Abu Dhabi Island

The Abu Dhabi Island zone depicts life within the budding settlement that would become the modern city we know today. In this particular zone, guests can experience the importance of Emirati traditions, from craft and cooking, to schooling and policing. Visitors will be able to enjoy the reconstruction of a traditional Emirati community including school, dukhoun producers, grocer, a cooking workshop and the opportunity to meet with members of the Al Hosn Police Force who used to protect the Fort and its surrounding areas.

Oasis Zone

Visitors can take part in farming, gardening and building using materials that came from the natural resources of the oasis. Through a variety of activities, you can learn about how communities harvested food, built houses and created a variety of products from palm trees. Highlights include tree climbing, date tasting and a botany class on the uses of indigenous plants in traditional medicine and cuisine.


The shows scheduled are varied and entertaining, so make time for at least one of them.

Bab Al Khair

This Arabic comedy performance boasts a lively cast of amusing characters who will entertain people of all ages.

The Sky Show

A special performance where the birds of Al Ain Zoo are invited to interact with the audience

The Night Safari

A performance narrating a story which takes two friends into the desert to look for new adventures.  Along the way they are introduced to a host of different animals native to the UAE. The storyline interweaves between the dual languages of Arabic and English to tell the story of the adventurers.


Learn more about where Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE came from.

Archives and Memories

Capturing the nation’s story brings together a number of key national collections into one exhibition. Contributions from The National Archives, Abu Dhabi Media, ADNOC, ADCO, Baynounah TV and the Crown Prince Court come together to tell the history of the UAE. Different types of media in the collections are explored, including photography, newspapers and film to show how each medium records events and preserves memories in a different way.

The Anatomy of a Photograph

Iconic images from the UAE’s past guides visitors through a detailed deconstruction of five iconic photographs of Abu Dhabi and an exploration of the hidden narratives that exist within them.

Recollections of the Cultural Foundation

This exhibition highlights the significance of the Cultural Foundation Building to the community through the memories of the people of Abu Dhabi. Visitors are able to listen to the contributions of people who have witnessed or lived during important moments in the building.


Qasr Al Hosn is located between Hamdan Street and Zayed the First Street, alongside Shaikh Rashid Street (Old Airport Road)