Emirati handicrafts and folklore are the focus of the first Hatta Cultural Nights, a new initiative from Dubai Culture.
The free event, which will run from Thursday, December 26, through January 11, will be held at Wadi Hatta Park in the city of Hatta, a 90-minute drive from Dubai.
As part of the programme, Hatta Cultural Nights will feature performances of folk dances and songs by local and international artists, as well as exhibitions, poetry readings, a retail market and food stalls serving Emirati cuisine. There will be activities for children, such as workshops, face painting and henna painting.
Visitors can also learn about Emirati culture through a majlis set-up, where older citizens share their personal experiences with younger generations.
Other highlights include an art exhibition featuring works by people of determination and the ‘Gallery of Antique Doors’, which is spread out across the venue and symbolise an era in the UAE's history.
“There is a deep cultural and heritage value to this initiative,” said Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture, in a statement. “[It] seeks to shed light on the Emirati heritage… and aligns with plans to develop Hatta into a cultural and tourism destination.”
The Dubai government has been keen on boosting Hatta’s tourism, aiming to highlight its natural beauty and rugged landscapes. In 2016, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the 10-year Hatta Comprehensive Development Plan, which outlined a number of eco-tourism and hospitality projects to be completed in the area.
Last year, developer Meraas opened trailer accommodations and lodges in the Hajar Mountains and Hatta National Park. Adventure-based activities such as mountain biking are also drawing in visitors through facilities like the Hatta Mountain Bike Centre, which offers curated trails in the highlands.
Hatta Cultual Nights adds an element of culture to these initiatives, which have been designed to bring introduce Emirati heritage to visitors and safeguard authentic national identity.
Hatta Cultural Nights timings are from 4pm to 10pm on Sundays to Thursdays and 4pm to 12am on Fridays and Saturdays.