Qasr Al Hosn, Abu Dhabi - Timings, History, Best Time to Visit

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Abu Dhabi): 36 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 1 Hour

Place Location: Along Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street

Transportation Options: Bus / Cab

Travel Tips: None

At a distance of 6 km from Etihad Towers and 36 km from Abu Dhabi International Airport, Qasr Al Hosn is a stone fort located along Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street in Abu Dhabi. It is the first permanent structure of Abu Dhabi and among the top places of heritage in Abu Dhabi.

The Qasr Al Hosn is the ancestral home of Emirate's ruling Al Nahyan family. It is a part of a larger historic complex that also includes the National Consultative Council building and the Cultural Foundation. It is the oldest and most significant building in Abu Dhabi, holding the city's first permanent structure, the watchtower. Built-in 1760, it was used as the watchtower for defending the only freshwater well on Abu Dhabi Island. The tower was later enlarged into a small fort in 1793 Shakhbut bin Dhiyab Al Nahyan and became the permanent residence of the ruling Sheikh. The tower got its present shape after the major extension in the late 1930s.

Nicknamed the 'White Fort', Qasr Al Hosn comprises of two major iconic buildings - the Inner Fort, and the Outer Palace. The Inner Fort or 'Hosn' was built with coral and sea stone by Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab in 1795 while the outer palace was built in the 1940s under Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan uses local mangrove tree trunks for beams and floors. Visitors will admire the traditional and simple, but highly-efficient, barjeel system of ventilation that consists of gaps in wall arches, often within double-height ceilings, that funnel the wind in order to cool rooms.

Over the centuries, it has been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, a consultative council, and a national archive. It transformed into a museum in 2018 following more than eleven years of intensive conservation and restoration work. This national monument encapsulates the development of Abu Dhabi from a settlement reliant on fishing and pearling in the 18th century, to a modern, global metropolis, with displays of artifacts and archival materials dating back to as far as 6000 BC. It also has a range of weapons, used through the region's history, on display.

Qasr Al Hosn festival is an annual 11-day cultural event staged on the grounds of the fort. The fort is open to the public during the festival, including some of the restricted areas and features live music and dance performances showing the UAE's cultural heritage.

Timings: 9 AM - 7 PM from Sunday - Thursday & 12 PM - 10 PM from Friday - Saturday

Entry: AED. 30for Adults & AED. 15 for Children below 12 Years