Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 has attracted more than 100,000 visitors during its first week, bringing together UAE citizens, residents, foreign tourists and dignitaries from all segments of society. The overwhelming turnout echoes the magnitude and diversity of the festival’s phenomenal attractions.
The festival is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President; with the support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It is held under the supervision of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The festival runs until 12th December 2014, offering numerous interactive exhibitions that reflect the rich Emirati heritage inherited from our forefathers.
HE Humaid Al Neyadi, Vice Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee of Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 and General Manager of the Private Office of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, attributed the remarkable turnout to the diverse attractions in this year’s festival, commenting: “Attracting over 100,000 visitors in the first week of our 22-day festival is a remarkable achievement. We are thrilled because this overwhelming response from the public is a vote of confidence that confirms we are on the right path. This festival has already exceeded all our expectations for this year, and we look forward to offering various activities that showcase our heritage.”
The main stage of the festival will feature ‘Layali Al Wathba’ festivities in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, to celebrate the UAE’s 43rd National Day. From 8pm, various national songs will be performed by Emirati artists Aidha Al Menhali, Fayez Al Saeed, Aryaam and Fatma (Zahrat Al Ain).
The festival has been graced by the visits of HE Sheikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, Member of the Bahraini Olympic Committee and President of the Women’s Sports Committee; and HE Saad Al Sufyani, Deputy Chairperson of the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees, who toured the living museum to explore various exhibitions, environments, workshops and traditional Emirati crafts. The special guests were highly impressed by the superb level of organization, and praised the festival’s aspirations of elevating authentic heritage in the UAE and the Gulf.
Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival features more than 60 workshops across four environments (Desert, Mountains, Oasis and Sea). These attractions include Al Raha workshop, which displays one of the tools most commonly used by women in ancient times to grind grain. This simple yet effective apparatus consists of two heavy stones: the lower stone is fixed, while the upper stone rotates on a wooden axis. Grain is dropped into a small aperture in the upper stone, and crushed into a very fine flour-like powder.
Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival 2014 blends entertainment and education to innovatively convey Emirati culture through futuristic technologies. It has attracted visitors from all age groups – including schools and universities, whose students are converging at the festival to get a first-hand experience of Emirati traditions.