Abu Dhabi to celebrate Qasr Al Hosn Festival
Qasr Al Hosn which stands as the symbolic birthplace of Abu Dhabi and home to the ruling Al Nahyan family continues to undergo a comprehensive conservation programme of preservation restoration and rehabilitation for the appreciation of future generations. The 2016 Qasr Al Hosn Festival will celebrate the site as a community hub the fort's status as a historic monument the Cultural Foundation Building as modern heritage whilst honouring the UAE's founders and their visionary leadership. Organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority TCA Abu Dhabi the Qasr Al Hosn Festival which runs from February 3 to 13 illustrates the enduring legacy of Emirati heritage and identity and showcases the on-going conservation of Qasr Al Hosn and the Cultural Foundation which are essential to reinstate Qasr Al Hosn as the cultural heart of Abu Dhabi. [SEE PICTURES: Sneak peek into Qasr Al Hosn Festival] Visitors to this year's Qasr Al Hosn Festival will be rewarded with a different glimpse into the meticulous on-going conservation works that are revealing the building's rich and intricate history. Mark Kyffin Head of Architecture for TCA Abu Dhabi said "Significant conservation works are currently being undertaken by a multidisciplinary team of experts. This year visitors will see major changes to the appearance of Qasr Al Hosn. As more of the 1980s rendering on the Outer Palace is removed visitors will be able to appreciate more of the exposed authentic historic fabric and view the restoration of the facades underway." He added "The aim is to balance traditional materials and modern technologies to reinstate the 1939 to 1945 appearance of the Palace." In parallel renovation works are also being undertaken to the Cultural Foundation Building. Amel Chabbi Building Conservator TCA Abu Dhabi's Historic Environment Department said "The antiquated mechanical and electrical equipment is being carefully removed along with other obsolete building services to modernise the Cultural Foundation building's function whilst retaining its charm and character. These works are in line with the recently completed conservation management plan." A hard-hat guided tour will afford this year's festival visitors a glimpse of the building under renovation and festival visitors will be able to embark on an immersive fort experience accompanied by a comprehensive narrative chronicling the fort's ongoing conservation process. "The experience will lead visitors to the Qasr Al Hosn Centre where they can tour the recently updated exhibition" said Arwa Al Nuaimi Project Manager TCA Abu Dhabi. "This exhibition will provide insight on daily life in historic Abu Dhabi and also explain the significance of Qasr Al Hosn through the centuries to the present. The experience will then demonstrate how the historical context of Qasr Al Hosn remains pivotal to the area's future master plan." The festival's popular Desert Oasis Marine and Abu Dhabi Island zones return with a full range of interactive activations re-enactments and workshops in addition to the newly introduced Qasr Al Hosn zone which showcases traditional Emirati architecture and archaeology through workshops and live activities. An Arena Zone will house a series of performances and family oriented activities dedicated to themes which reflect the cultural significance of the site on the development of the Emirate and its people. The Gahwa experience celebrating the art and tradition of coffee which was recently inscribed on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage will return to the Cultural Foundation Building. In addition parts of the Cultural Foundation Building will once again open to the public during the Festival days and will host a series of educational activities and informative exhibitions. The festival will also include a lively hub of visual and performing arts programmes traditional workshops cultural and interactive learning experiences led by the world's best curators artisans and experts.
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