The historic Al Kamra Tower dominates the skyline in Assilah. Located just inside the northern entrance to the medina, the tower is not something that tourists regularly get to see – it is usually closed to visitors. Previously used as map room, a library, a wheat and grain store, and even a prison, the tower is frequently photographed from the outside, but rarely is the interior seen.
However, for the duration of this year’s Assilah Festival, everyone is able to enjoy the historic interior and striking views over the town, medina and sea from inside the tower while learning more about the United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) is hosting an exhibition in the Tower as part of its activities at this year’s Assilah Festival.
“Continuity and Transformation – A Celebration of the Heritage of the United Arab Emirates’ explores the origins and contemporary applications of the UAE’s distinctive patrimony.
The exhibition gives visitors an insight into how, despite the upheaval and transformation that the UAE has seen over the past 50 years, the culture and heritage of the Emirates is still of paramount importance to its rulers and inhabitants alike. It highlights the efforts being made by Government organizations in the UAE to document, preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of the country.
Split into several key areas, the exhibition guides visitors through the UAE’s natural heritage, culture, architecture, creativity and values. Each section of the exhibition is complemented by numerous photographs from the past 50 years – showing everything from modern structures such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi to the ancient earthen structures at the Al Ain Oases.
Spread over three floors of the Al Kamra Tower, the exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to see an aspect of the UAE that they may not be familiar with – showcasing images of falconry and pearl diving alongside more familiar modern icons such as the Burj Khalifa. The aim is to give visitors an insight into how the UAE has transformed itself from a land of closely knit tribes into a modern, multi-cultural society with a blossoming economy and boundless opportunities without losing the cultural heritage and values that are so important.
ADACH, along with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development and Masdar are representing UAE officially at the Assilah Festival as a guest of honour this year.
As part of their participation, an extensive series of events have been organised by ADACH under the title of: "Renewable Energy - A Leap Towards Human Development”. There will be more than forty-five countries from around the world participating in this year's festival. It is one of the most important art festivals in the Middle East and North Africa and seeks to promote cultural exchange and create a custom of open dialogue between different countries. Its ethos is to celebrate the values of peace and tolerance.