A taste of tradition…

There’s plenty to see on the art and culture front in the capital, from beacons of art like the renowned Louvre Abu Dhabi to the array of independent galleries that dot the city. But the emirate also has several museums and experiences that pay tribute to the UAE’s strong heritage. Each offers a fascinating insight into centuries worth of rich history, dating as far back as when the nomadic Arab tribes roamed the desert.

Here are six fun ways to discover the legacy of the UAE.

Brew an authentic Arabic coffee

Arabic coffee

Gahwa (or Arabic coffee), has been a central part of Arab culture for centuries and has a unique preparation and serving style, which has been passed down through the ages. It is considered a symbol of generosity and traditionally, prepared in front of guests. You can learn more about this strong tradition and its distinctive techniques including the roasting, cooling, grounding and brewing stages of the gahwa to the serving phase at Qasr Al Hosn.


Stand out from the crowd and try your hand at playing the Oud


A central instrument in Middle Eastern music, the Oud is a prominent string instrument shaped like a pear and has unique notes not found in Western music. It might be a little challenging, but it’s still a lot of fun to learn. The Musicians musical institute in Abu Dhabi are keen to pass on their passion for music to others, and you can learn Oud either at home or online. Sessions start from Dhs225 for a single class, or it’s Dhs1,725 for eight sessions.


Master the art of Arabic calligraphy

arabic calligraphy

Calligraphy is a great hobby to take on and the art form itself is an expression of beauty. Arabic calligraphy is no different, adorning a number of mosques with eye-catching quotes from the Quran. With its symmetry and structure, calligraphy is known to relieve stress, improve concentration and stimulate creativity. Learn the art with a private calligraphy class in the comfort of your own home with skilldeer. The 90-minute classes are great for those just starting out or have a little experience and you can take either three, six or 12 sessions depending on your learning goals. Prices start from Dhs615, plus Dhs70 for your calligraphy kit.


Soak in the UAE’s history Hidden

Qasr Al Hosn

among the bustling city centre is one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest heritage sites, Qasr Al Hosn. It comprises two major iconic buildings – the Inner Fort originally constructed in 1795 and the Outer Palace built from 1939 to 1945. After 11 years of conservation and restoration, it reopened as a museum in 2018, showcasing the development of Abu Dhabi from a settlement dependent on fishing and pearling back in the 18th century to the buzzing metropolis it is now. Expect to see artefacts and materials dating back as far as 6,000 BC. Tickets are Dhs30.


Learn the alif, baa, taa’s of Arabic

Learning Arabic

Arabic is considered one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Whether you’ve lived in UAE all your life, or if you’ve just arrived, you’ll find that learning the language besides being very gratifying, come with other perks. Besides the most common words like marhaba, shukran, and yalla, kickstart the learning process and book an express group course at Eton Institute. The 15-session course will allow you to understand everyday greetings, expressions and basic phrases. Courses start from Dhs1,890.


Ras Al Khaimah: Take a deep dive and learn about pearl diving

Suwaidi Pearl Farm

Before the boom of the oil industry in the UAE, pearl diving was the heartbeat of the economy. It is kept alive in the fishing village of Al Rams in Ras Al Khaimah, where you’ll find Suwaidi Pearl Farm. Founded by Abdulla Al Suwaidi, whose grandfather was one of the last remaining pearl divers in the UAE, here you can learn about the rich roots of the UAE’s pearl diving past. There’s also the option to spend a day with a traditional pearl diver for further immersion into this fascinating pastime. Tours start from Dhs250 per person.


Images: Getty Images