A weekend celebration of Emirati culture and heritage on 26th and 27th December will be a highlight of Abu Dhabi city's 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi Stopover in the U.A.E. capital between 12th December and 3rd January.
Visitors to the purpose-built Destination Village on Abu Dhabi's famous Corniche Breakwater will experience all aspects of the U.A.E., from cooking and food, to arts and crafts as well as music and entertainment.
The programme will begin at 3 p.m. on 26th December, including a live, ‘Jalsah' concert – which is music performed in the traditional Arabian meeting room setting, running through till the evening of 27th December.
Given Abu Dhabi's maritime heritage, a lot of the action takes place on the water with the magnificent sight of 100 dhows – the traditional Arabian sailing vessel -racing in the 43-foot dhow race, on 27th December.
"We expect 200,000 visitors to the Stopover and many of them will be international tourists with many seeing the country for the first time," said Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director, Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi). "As well as four centuries of maritime heritage, Abu Dhabi enjoys a rich and diverse culture, which we aim to share for residents and visitors alike to enjoy." Hosted by TCA Abu Dhabi, the Stopover Festival will highlight Abu Dhabi's association with the sea and its maritime heritage. As well as the dhow racing, there will be pearl diving showcases, traditional local sea-shanty performances, ocean conservation exhibitions and many other activities such as turtle conservation talks.
The Destination Village opens on December 12th with the Arabian debut of BBC Worldwide's highly acclaimed 'Blue Planet in Concert', which will be performed on a floating screen off Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwater.
The village closes on the evening of January 3rd when the awe-inspiring race fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s, including the Azzam yacht of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, the emirate's very own race contender, departs for its next endurance sailing leg to Sanya, China.