Qasr al-Hosn

Qasr al-Hosn, the iconic “white palace” and fort from the 18th century is revered as the first permanent structure in Abu Dhabi and has played a significant role in the history of Abu Dhabi.

A silent sentinel

Qasr al-Hosn, though a vast and impressive structure now, began its life as a humble watchtower in the 1760s. Constructed from coral bricks and sea stone, this lone tower in the desert stood guard over the only freshwater well in the Abu Dhabi Island. It was then expanded into a fort during the latter part of the century and became the royal residence for the next couple of centuries. It was developed into a palace in the early part of the 20th century after the discovery of oil in the region.

A heritage building

Today, the Qasr al-Hosn, is no longer the seat of government but is preserved as a museum of sorts of a bygone era. Its modest collection includes artifacts, photographs and weaponry.  It also hosts the famed Qasr al-Hosn Festival, a cultural extravaganza that pays homage to the rich traditions of the Emirates.

The palace stands in stark contrast to the modern buildings that surround it, and yet, it is often called as the ‘symbolic birthplace of Abu Dhabi.’ And, indeed it is.