Discover Al Ain
Al Ain is home to Abu Dhabi’s largest oasis as well as the Emirate’s second largest city. This thriving oasis has sustained life in the region for several millennia. Today, it continues to play a significant role and has been designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System.
Visitors stream to Al Ain to enjoy rare glimpses of history, culture as well as to explore the fun and adventurous side of a historic city.
History and Culture
Al Ain has seen human civilizations flourish for at least 4000 years. Visit the Al Hili Archeological Park where artifacts from 2000 BC were excavated. Many of its findings are displayed at the Al Ain National Museum, a priceless reservoir of treasures from the past. The Park also has a garden and a children’s play area. Next, you might enjoy a visit to the Al Qattara fort nearby. Don’t be fooled by its exteriors for the fort is home to a swanky Arts Centre. The Al Jahili Fort was built in 1891 and is now home to a photography exhibition that chronicles the adventures of Sir Wilfred Thesiger, a British explorer, known for crossing the Rub Al-Khali. The fort has beautifully landscaped gardens that are worth exploring. The Al Ain Palace Museum next door was the home of the founder of the UAE Sheikh Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and showcases the regal life of a bygone era. The camel souk at Mezyad Street provides for an unusual local experience.
Leisure, entertainment and adventure
There are several places at Al Ain designed for the whole family. Families with children might enjoy the sprawling Al Ain Zoo. Hili Fun City near the Archeological Park offers a range of games and rides for children of all ages including carousels and roller coasters. While at Al Ain, you might like to attempt to drive up to the top of Jebel Hafeet, Abu Dhabi’s tallest mountain peak. The view from the top is truly memorable. At the foothills of Jebel Hafeet is the marvelous Wadi Adventure, a theme park that features whitewater rafting, surfing, kayaking and other adventure sports.
If adventure sports is not your cup of tea, the Al Ain oasis provides an enchanting respite from the Middle Eastern climate as well as the clamor of the city. Spanning an impressive 3000 acres, the oasis is home to a stunning 147,000 palm trees irrigated by an ancient irrigation system. You must also attempt to visit the Green Mubazzarah Park at the bottom of the Jebel Hafeet. It is the largest park in the city and stretches over 1.65 million square meters. It boasts lush lawns, streams, a lake for fishing and best of all, hot springs that draw visitors from afar.
Al Ain is a complete package in many ways and merits more than just a weekend. There’s so much to see, do and experience.
- At the camel souk, it helps to keep a few dirham as change if you expect to click photographs of the livestock. The owners expect tips.