A first look at Traditional Souk, an exciting new Abu Dhabi mega-project
The design features a shaded heritage-style market, edutainment complex and a collection of restaurants…
Abu Dhabi-based developers Al Qudra have unveiled plans to transform a 245,000 sqm stretch of Abu Dhabi’s W64 Zone overlooking the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, next door to the upcoming Al Qana project on the Khor Al Maqtaa, into a sophisticated blanched-wall leisure and entertainment complex.
And looking at these renders, the scale and quality of concept are giving us legitimate cause for awe. From the patchwork-shaded alleyways of the UAE heritage-style marketplace to the leafy open courtyards, waterfront hotel and vibrant new restaurant district. It’s a project that’s somehow both in synergy with the neighbourhood it joins, and yet something truly different.
The Heritage Market
This element should be considered the heart of the project, a lively souk inspired by historical regional design, given a fresh 21st century reimagining. Inside you’ll find spice stalls and jewellers, silk sellers, oud outlets, carpet merchants, antique vendors, and stores trading in traditional clothing. Visitors will also be able to experience traditional Emirati crafts such as falconry; pearl, sword and bisht making; and al sadu weaving.
The Edutainment Zone
This block is located close to the main gate of the development and will offer, as the name suggests, a blend of entertainment and education. The specifics surrounding the exact nature of the edutainment in the permanent structures, remains a closely guarded secret. But we’re told to expect a thrilling programme of digital and live action performances, film, art and music designed to engage residents and tourists alike.
The main food and beverage hub is found along the waterfront, and will be comprised of a selection of restaurants with a diverse culinary portfolio. We can’t drop names of restaurants right now, but we can share one exciting detail. This area is being designed to stage open-air theatrical and live musical performances. Meaning your dinner, may very well come with a show.
This area will include a mix of open-air and covered shopping experiences. The aim is to create a retail space that caters to both residents and tourists. Expect a hypermarket, high-end stores and souvenir vendors.
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The artisan section of the development will establish a home for regionally inspired arts, crafts and heritage products. This will include high quality local items of jewellery, ceramics, textiles, pottery and art. There will also be galleries and workshops for exhibiting existing talent and nurturing aspiring talent.
Union Plaza and Open Plaza
A mix of open air and covered courtyards, landscaped greenery, seven separate water features, and sheltered walkways. The ambition was to create an oasis feel, with soothing views framed in the shadow of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Hotel and chalets
The as yet unnamed boutique hotel will offer luxurious stays with direct access to the Traditional Souk. It comes equipped with a spa and outdoor pool, private stretch of beach and its own collection of restaurants.