The Women’s Handicraft Centre on Airport Road is a creative initiative run by the Abu Dhabi Women’s Association. The motivation behind the programme is to keep traditional crafts alive and at the same time provide a means of livelihood to unemployed women and raise money for projects through craft exhibitions. Crafts women and artists are brought together to pass on and develop their knowledge and techniques in the manufacture of traditional products that has been around in the Middle East for hundreds of years. The small museum in the premises displays products and collectible made by the artisans who have workshops here. For visitors with an interest in traditional crafts this is the place to learn about their history and artistic traditions behind them. As the souvenirs and gifts sold at the sales outlet at the centre comes with a quality guarantee this is one of the few places in the city to buy a genuine souvenir.
The workshops of the women artisans are at the back of the building and visitors are welcome to visit them to view demonstrations. These include textile weaving, weaving of un dyed and dyed floor mats, tailoring of traditional clothing, costumes and camel hair bags, making of pottery, Arabian oils and incense, delicate ‘saddu’ and ‘telli’ embroidery and weaving of reed baskets in a range of shapes and sizes. Demonstrations of the preparation of a mouth-watering array of traditional foods are also part of the experience. Al lugaimart, really sweet fritters, hareesh; a festive meat dish, thareed; a dish of bread, vegetables and meat, rice cooked in various combinations of meat and vegetables and several local breads are made to be tasted and enjoyed. Additionally female visitors can get an intricate henna design painted on their hands and feet.
All the women at the centre are veiled local ladies and visitors are expected to show them the courtesies due to their age and gender. Shoes have to be left outside the workshops. Not being family members, male visitors are expected to keep some distance from the women. Taking photos without asking permission first is not permitted. Other Women’s Handicraft Centres run by the Abu Dhabi Women’s Association are found near the Abu Dhabi Golf and Equestrian Club and right at the end of Karama.
The stunning Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi, in the protected Eastern Mangroves district, has the advantage of being in one of the city’s most accessible locations. This much talked about hotel in Abu Dhabi also offers some of the most spacious and tastefully designed accommodation Abu Dhabi comprising of guestrooms and suites in muted colours and views of the mangroves. Additionally the range of facilities and services offered here can only be described as amazing.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.