Qasr Al Hosn

Top choice fort in Downtown

Image by Matilde Gattoni Getty Images

Featured on the back of the Dhs1000 note, this iconic fort started life in 1760 as a watchtower that safeguarded a precious freshwater well. After an expansion, it became the ancestral home of the ruling Al Nahyan family in 1793 and remained a royal residence until 1966 (its historic watchtower is Abu Dhabi's oldest surviving structure). In a free, yearly-changing exhibit, photographs, archaeological finds, models and other objects chart the history of Abu Dhabi and its people.

After a brief spell as an administrative centre, the palace was closed in 1990 and has been undergoing a massive, long-term restoration and expansion ever since. Expected reopening is 2018.