Abu Dhabi is a large and advanced metropolis, centre of government, industrial activities and a major commercial centre due to its position as the capital of United Arab Emirates. It is the largest city of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and is the headquarters of numerous oil companies and embassies. There are buildings everywhere—from typical square to round ones, from weird to amazing ones, you name all the shapes, Abu Dhabi has it. I was like a little lost brown sheep in a big city; looking up, open-mouthed. Deep down in my heart, I want to see something more of the same eye-level, you know—tents, camels and perhaps, desert.
So, I went searching on the Internet and found out about Abu Dhabi Heritage Village and decided to visit the place to see how was life there before urbanisation.
The initial plan was to just go and take a cab because I do not know how to get there on bus but when Nirouz offered to take me there, I jumped at the chance. Made appointment to meet her at Marina Mall around 9am one fine Monday in the last week of April, and later went together to the village. It was not far from the mall actually.
Nirouz El Tanbouli was one of the participants at the Illustrators’Corner, Abu Dhabi International Bookfair. Visiting along was Mama Gajah (Pak Yusof Gajah’s wife) and Nirouz’s mother.
Heritage Village Entrance.
So…yay. It was more like it.
Situated on the Breakwater, which is reclaimed land off the main Abu Dhabi island, this Heritage Village is a re-creation of a traditional oasis village that offers an interesting glimpse into the emirate’s old way of life. There are reconstructions of bedouin tents, traditional houses, old fishing villages and traditional souqs.
The above bedouin tent (Al-Hadeera) is made from goats’ hair and the surrounding fence is built from branches of dessert trees such al-markh,al-thmam,al-sabt, al-ramth or al-selly. When it rains the weave contracts and doesn’t let the water in. In the heat of the weather, the inside remains blissfully cool and when the night falls, small fire will be made inside the tent to stay warm and cosy. Here, people share conversations and drink Arabic coffee.
The Oasis House or Bait Al-Wahat is made of palm tree fronds and is inhabited by the farmer’s family.
Nirouz entering Al-Hassa.
The Mountain’s People House or Al-Hassa is built from stones collected from the mountain area and was inhabited mostly by Al-Shuhuh tribe. The ceiling of this house is made of plam tree fronds and is made thicker by adding clay in order to protect from the rain as well as to keep the inside cold in summer and warm in winter.
Bait Al-Ewany is made of sackcloth and is used in winter. In the upper part of this house, the branches of Al-Sabt and Althmam trees are added and the house is surrounded by the branches of Almarkh tree in order to keep a moderate temperature inside.
Mama Gajah (Pak Yusof Gajah’s wife) and Nirouz’s mother.
Other than the tents and houses, there also mud-brick buildings that housed a book store and handicraft centre. Both were closed when we went there, so we just posed and took a photo in front of the building. According to Nairouz, the centre showcases a group of women making traditional baskets, textiles and embroidery.
We later walked to the beach-side area, where we could see interesting view of Abu Dhabi’s cityline.
After taking photos, Nirouz invited us to have breakfast at Al-Asala Restaurant. We were lavished with all sort of food recommended by Nirouz and her mother.
Before we leave, we bought some souvenirs from the souq.
After buying some souvenirs, it was already around 12 afternoon and Nirouz had to leave because she has a routine to pick-up her children from school. We said goodbye and promised to keep in touch. We are now friends on FB. I love the fact that it connects people.
So, that concludes this post and here’s my favourite photo capture by Nirouz on my camera.