Qasr Al Muwaiji features UAE history and heritage

ABU DHABI– For more than 100 years, the historic Qasr Al Muwaiji fort safeguarded the oases of Al Ain and played an integral role in society, acting as a diwan – a council or seat of governance – and as a place for the community to congregate. In 2015, the birthplace of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, reopened its doors to the community once again following an impressive restoration project undertaken by the Department of Culture and Tourism � Abu Dhabi, DCT.

The architectural style of Qasr Al Muwaiji is typical of the mud and clay structures in the Al Ain area, with its open courtyard, wooden doors, windows and ceilings, water well and stairs leading to the upper rooms of the towers. Visitors to the museum can explore the permanent exhibition dedicated to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, which narrates significant moments of his early childhood as well as the occasion of his assumption to the post of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The exhibition also highlights his leadership and impressive national achievements, and includes some personal belongings such as a royal bisht. Visitors can also discover the chronology of the members of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family who are associated with Qasr al Muwaiji, and the history and progression of the Al Nahyan family.

Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director-General of the DCT, said, “Qasr Al Muwaiji has played a vital role in the history of our nation; for more than a century it protected Al Ain, was home to the ruling family, and acted as a diwan were people used to meet with the leadership to discuss various topics that would eventually lead the UAE to where it is today.

“It is critical that future generations can explore and be aware of their history and learn about the importance of sites such as this. At the Department of Culture and Tourism � Abu Dhabi we are building an appreciation of our rich history and heritage through the restoration and rehabilitation of our buildings and landmarks, with the aim of establishing them as cultural centres where residents and visitors can learn more about our national history through a variety of interactive activities throughout the year.”

Prior to its reopening, Qasr Al Muwaiji went through a rigorous renovation and conservation project which included the construction of a glass exhibition centre located in the open courtyard. The above-ground construction and design of the exhibition centre blends the traditional and the modern, and is raised above the level of the courtyard to protect the archaeological features of Qasr Al Muwaiji.

The restoration work maintained the building’s original form while adapting its function to welcome guests and visitors. Alongside the conservation, archaeologists carried out extensive excavations at Al Muwaiji. They unearthed traces of agricultural activity at the oasis from the 18th century as well as evidence for different phases of the fort’s construction.

Source: Emirates News Agency