The historic Al Hosn Palace inherits a rich legacy as the oldest existing building in the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi. Also known as the Old Fort or White Fort this palace was constructed in 1793 to serve as the seat of government and the residence of the ruling family.
The palace has now been modernized and refurbished, giving it the status of a major tourist attraction in Abu Dhabi. The impressive courtyard and the splendid tile work on the principal gate on the northern side of the palace are two of the most attractive features at the site.
Today the interior of the palace serves as a museum for the Cultural Foundation, functioning as the Center for Documentation and Research. The centre contains a selection of documents pertaining to the history and heritage of the Gulf region with a particular emphasis on the United Arab Emirates. Also on display are historically significant photographs and cultural artefacts, with a special section devoted to the documentation of the history of the United Arab Emirates.
The tower of the palace features an array of weapons that were used over the years in Abu Dhabi. The palace also contains a section on natural history devoted to the wildlife native to the surrounding desert.
The Al Hosn Palace began its existence as a circular watchtower functioning as a defence for the solitary well of freshwater on the island of Abu Dhabi in 1761. The tower was later enlarged into a minor fort in 1793, the year in which it became the ruling sheikh’s official residence. With the stream of oil revenues the 1930s saw a significant expansion to the compound giving it the form seen today. The palace retained its status as the seat of government and the royal residence until the year 1966.
In recent years the government of Abu Dhabi has actively attempted to expand the emirate’s appeal as a tourist destination. In this regard the desert emirate has much to offer, including various museums and monuments, a diverse array of shopping opportunities, sporting events and modern attractions such as theme parks.
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