The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has named the recipients of this year’s Urban Treasures Awards, an annual initiative which honours long-running establishments that have shaped Abu Dhabi’s urban and social fabric.

During a ceremony held at the Cultural Foundation on 22 June, His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, presented the award to 15 businesses selected from across the emirate: Abu Al Afwal Cafeteria, The Green Branch, Al Masaood Jewellery, Chhappan Bhog, Badie Optical, Cairo Textiles Showroom, Al Almain Restaurant, Al Arab Restaurant, Abu Kaabi Kabab Restaurant & Grills, Lebanese Roaster, Al Sultan Restaurant & Grill, Sunlight Electronics, Gulf Bride Salon, Cool and Cool Flowers and National Tailor Stores.

Now in its second edition, the Urban Treasures initiative was launched with the aim of recognising the city's landmark small businesses – including cafes, restaurants, bakeries, tailors, fabric stores, perfumeries, jewellers, photography studios and similar establishments – which have thrived in Abu Dhabi for 20 years or more. Seeking to further raise the profiles of these treasures and preserve them for future generations, the award aligns with DCT Abu Dhabi’s Modern Heritage Initiative, which illuminates and safeguards the emirate’s more recent past.

His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak said: “It is with great pride that we celebrate this select group of some of Abu Dhabi’s most outstanding local establishments. These longstanding institutions are more than just shops and stores doing business in our city; they are part of Abu Dhabi’s story. They have witnessed the capital’s growth and contributed to the identity and vitality of our neighbourhoods, and they hold a prominent place in the collective memory of citizens and long-term residents alike. Through the Urban Treasures accolade, we both express our appreciation for their social impact and extend an invitation to Abu Dhabi’s residents and visitors to continue to engage with these businesses and ensure that they continue to thrive.”

Nominations for Urban Treasures 2023 were opened to the public last October and garnered a total of 460 submissions. Those were then filtered and evaluated by a committee, which reviewed each establishment based on set criteria.