Fifty women will begin a historical journey tomorrow, 9th February, tracing the footsteps of generations of Emirati women along the 120-kilometre trek from Al Ain to Abu Dhabi through the desert.
The third annual Women’s Heritage Walk honours the traditions and customs of the UAE by following an ancient path that was travelled twice a year, offering a unique perspective into the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and experiences of Emirati culture.
The initiative is supported by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, as part of its mission to support cultural, intellectual and artistic activities to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage.
Bodour Al Tamimi, Ambassador for the Women’s Heritage Walk, said, "Since my first time embarking on this historic journey in 2015, I have been in awe of the strength and courage of the women who endured the harsh conditions of the walk through the dunes twice a year. Their strength gives me great hope for the potential of women all around the world, the effect their satisfaction and happiness has on society, and how much they can accomplish when they have confidence in themselves."
Setting off from Al Ain National Museum on Thursday 9th February, the women, of various nationalities, will walk through Al Ain’s historic oasis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before venturing beyond the city and into the desert. They will take part in traditional handicraft workshops in their desert camps and will learn more about Emirati customs and traditions at difference stages along the journey.
Ranya Nasser, Head of Education Programmes and Initiatives at TCA Abu Dhabi, said, "This journey is in line with TCA Abu Dhabi’s continuing commitment to increasing community engagement and understanding of the intangible cultural heritage elements that are at the core of Emirati identity. Throughout the journey the participants will gain insight into local traditions and rituals through interactive workshops. Beginning this journey in Al Ain oasis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reinforces the history and significance of the oases as a key trading point for our ancestors."
The Emirati and expatriate women taking part in the 2017 Women’s Heritage Walk have trained six days a week for the past three months in preparation for the six-day trek through some challenging terrains.
They will arrive in Abu Dhabi on 14th February, where they will be welcomed with a celebration in Umm Al Emarat Park. Further details and the full programme of events and timings can be found on the event's official website.