Zayed Heritage Festival 2016 Commences in Abu Dhabi
The Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival opened its doors to thousands of visitors on 1 December 2016 in Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba area with a spectacular performance by Skydivers in UAE flag-inspired parachutes.
The monthlong festival will run till 1 January 2017. From live performances, horse shows, date and classic car exhibitions, funfair for children to cooking classes and traditional UAE crafts as well as crafts from around the world, there is something for everyone.
The festival’s enormous grounds, which can easily take an hour to walk around, is split into three neighbourhoods, GCC, Arabic and International.
The organisers have placed emphasis on the world’s heritage, and it is evident in the 18 cultural districts that are available at the event.
Each district represents a different country including the UAE, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Oman, India, Russia, Serbia, and China.
The areas are carefully designed to reflect each country’s architectural heritage as well as present its crafts, products and authentic cuisine. A purpose-built stage in each district offers traditional shows for visitors in an intimate atmosphere.
Chinese drummers were particularly popular with the crowd on the opening day.
Saeed Abdullah and his wife could be seen hard at work at their pottery stand in the Oman district, creating traditional vases and dishes.
“I have been making pottery since I was six. I really want to share this tradition that we have had in our family for generations with everyone here,” said Saeed Abdullah.
The festival also presents a great opportunity for visitors to try food from around the world. Whether you want to try traditional Afghani Qubali polo, Bosnian Cevapi or Russian pies, you will not be disappointed with the choice of cuisine that is available.
Walking around the circular ground, the UAE traditions are presented in bundles — in the form of artisans, fishermen busy with their boats and nets, women crushing spices or making Arabic coffee, military marches, yolla performers and falconry.
The Kingdom of Morocco’s district is particularly impressive. Traditional Moroccan seating is arranged all around the pavilion surrounded by water features which allow visitors to enjoy the classic shows as well as the food and coffee.
The entire event is built around a circular fountain which promises to wow the crowds with its daily dancing shows.
There will also be fireworks at 8PM everyday.
Highlights of Shaikh Zayed Heritage Festival
Venue: Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba area
Opening hours: 4PM to 10PM daily
Cost: Free entry
Traditional cooking: 1-4 December 2016, 5PM to 9PM at UAE district
Milking camels: 1-4 December 2016, 7AM to 2PM, near the Main Gate
Falconry: 2-9 December 2016, 1PM to 5PM, in Al Falah Area
Dancing fountain show: 6PM to 9PM daily
Fireworks show: At 8PM daily
Buses from Abu Dhabi bus station travel every two hours to the festival venue, starting at 3PM until 9PM, on a weekday and at every hour on weekends. Return buses are available from 4PM till 12AM.