Record turnout for Qasr Al Hosn Festival

This year’s Qasr Al Hosn Festival had a record 140,000 visitors to the capital’s majestic palace-fort.

A fisherman casts his net in the Ocean Zone at this year’s Qasr Al Hosn Festival. Mona Al Marzooqi for The National
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ABU DHABI // This year’s Qasr Al Hosn Festival had a record 140,000 visitors to the capital’s majestic palace-fort.

Since the event’s first year in 2013, the public has been given access to the fort to learn the history of Abu Dhabi and allow residents and tourists to celebrate all things Emirati.

This year’s event attracted 15 per cent more visitors than last year.

“The kids’ activities were really front and centre,” said Asma Khouri, international communications team leader at Masdar. “My two kids really enjoyed the event.”

Ms Khouri has been a visitor to the festival since the first year but said this year’s display had an elegance and accessibility unmatched by the others.

“It’s a great way for my children to get in tune with the history of the UAE, to make it interesting for the youth and to gain a deeper understanding of our culture,” the Emirati said.

Thousands of visitors signed up to experience traditional Emirati dishes.

The Cultural Foundation hosted exhibitions at Qasr Al Hosn, such as the Anatomy of a Photograph: Iconic Images from the Past, and Archives and Memories: Capturing the Nation's Story.

“The festival has been a celebration of our rich history and culture, and an opportunity to share with the community the process of preservation, restoration and rehabilitation of the fort and its surrounding,” said Mohamed Al Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.

The festival this year displayed cultural practices listed by Unesco as being of intangible heritage importance, including the Rafza dance, majlis and the serving of Arabic coffee.

“Conserving our traditions and sharing them with the community remains one of our main priorities,” Mr Al Mubarak said.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae