There is an updated version of this post since the Qasr Al Hosn Fort, National Council and Cultural Foundation reopened in late 2018. Find it here: The Oldest Building in Abu Dhabi – Qasr Al Hosn.

Although the Qasr Al Hosn Fort, National Council and Cultural Foundation buildings are currently closed to the public undergoing extensive renovations ready for the grand re-opening in 2018, there is a permanent exhibition on site about the history and story of Abu Dhabi. Despite having been open for five years now, the Qasr Al Hosn exhibition still seems to be an attraction that is often overlooked, but it’s really very interesting and well worth a visit if you’re interested in how Abu Dhabi has grown from a tiny fishing and pearling community to the city we know today. 

There are plenty of historical images of the city which are fascinating to see – it’s amazing how far the capital has come in such a short space of time!

There’s also a small auditorium where you can sit and listen to excerpts of tales and anecdotes from long time Abu Dhabi residents on their experiences from years gone by and how life has changed in the city.

Artefacts and objects from both the defence of the city and those used in everyday life are also on display throughout, along with the original wooden doors of the fort, as above.

An interesting final section of the exhibition also points towards the future with interactive and virtual reality displays offering a hint of what to expect from the Fort and Cultural Foundation when the renovations are completed and the site reopens to the public in 2018.

The exhibition is currently planned to remain open until the end of this year, and is completely free to attend. Situated on the site of the Qasr Al Hosn in the centre of the city, the exhibition is housed in an impressive, modern visitor centre. A small car park on site also offers limited spots for those attending the exhibition.

The exhibition is open daily from 9am to 8pm (Ramadan hours 10am-2pm and 4pm-8pm).

Find out more about the exhibition on the Abu Dhabi events website.