Abu Dhabi's oldest building to be explored
Ancient construction work to be revealed at Qasr Al Hosn Festival
The 250-year-old-stones that went into the construction of Abu Dhabi’s oldest building, Qasr Al Hosn Watch Tower, will be seen for the first time in decades, during the second annual Qasr Al Hosn Festival.
Daily guided tours of the inner courtyard of the historical fort will give visitors an understanding of the history of the building and the restoration work that is being done.
“I really can’t tell how many years it will take to complete the restoration. It is a complex business! We are still understanding the building and just started the execution process,” Peter Sheehan, historic buildings manager at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA), told Khaleej Times.
ADTCA began the process of returning Qasr Al Hosn to its former glory in 2007. In the past six years, teams of researchers, architects and historians have tried to understand the building and what might be beyond the facade.
“We have some indications that there is a building under the ground, built by Shaikh Shakhbout bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and this is one more thing we have to look into,” said Sheehan.
Only recently, parts of the outer wall of Qasr Al Hosn and a strip of the 18th century Watch Tower had the cement removed.
“This was added in the 1980s for conservation purposes, but it had a bad effect on the structure. Because the building is very close to underground water, the cement walls retains moisture and it is too strong for the original materials used in construction — corals and sea stones,” explained Sheehan.
During the Qasr Al Hosn Festival, between 20 February and March 1, visitors will see for the first time these original stone structures.