ABU DHABI // Qasr Al Hosn is expected to open next year after a renovation project is finished at the historic site.
The fort is regarded as Abu Dhabi’s symbolic birthplace and plans for conservation work have been under way for years.
The announcement was made at a majlis held at the fort on Monday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The latest phases of construction work will start this month and continue for a year, said Mohammed Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
Those phases include reconstruction work on the chambers of what used to be the National Consultative Council – the predecessor to the Federal National Council, and the Cultural Foundation building.
The work is aimed at maintaining the historic value of the site, which later became a home to the Royal Family, while turning the area into a tourist and cultural attraction.
During the majlis, Sheikh Mohammed welcomed guests with whom he talked about the lives of their forefathers and their values, sharing stories and old photographs, the state news agency Wam reported.
They recalled the efforts of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, to preserve components of Emirati heritage and national identity, including Qasr Al Hosn.
The event also included poetry recitations.
Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE, led by President Sheikh Khalifa, would continue its development while continuing to hold on to its heritage and identity.
The Crown Prince also watched a video showing the phases of reconstruction and, with his guests, viewed the architectural model of the final plans for Qasr Al Hosn.
Mr Al Mubarak said that the tourism authority was honoured to start a year-long programme of activities aimed at preserving and restoring Qasr Al Hosn before it was opened to visitors next year.
“The Qasr Al Hosn site is emblematic of the pride and cultural heritage of the UAE and sheds light on the rich fabric of our history, people and traditions,” he said.
Qasr Al Hosn has existed since the 1760s as a coral and sea stone watchtower.
It was the first permanent structure built in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.