Most people who come to the UAE usually divide their time between
Abu Dhabi and . But there is a very special place about 160km east of the capital that is definitely worth a visit: Al Ain. Dubai
The city, which is the second largest in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the fourth in the entire UAE, is actually the birthplace of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and key to the cultural heritage of the country.
Traces of a traditional past are everywhere – the Al Jahili Fort, built in 1891 to defend the city, the Al Ain National Museum, with an interesting archaeological section, and the beautiful Al Ain Palace Museum, which was once home to Sheikh Zayed and also the center to the city’s political life.
Al Ain is also famous for its greenery, mountains and water springs. You will even be able to find a true oasis (Al Ain Oasis), with palm plantations and working farms, right in the middle of the city!
Another must-see spot at Al Ain is Jebel Hafeet (
). You can climb all the way up this 1,300 meters high mountain through a road that extends for almost 12km and many curves. At the top, you will find the Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain, a nice hotel where you can stop and enjoy the magnificent city views and indescribable sunset. Hafeet Mountain
Travelling with the kids? Then you might want to stop at Jebel Hafeet’s base for some outdoor fun at Green Mubazzarah, a wonderful setting, with many streams, waterfalls and
. Or perhaps you can head down to the Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort to see giraffes, zebras, rhinos, lions and other typical local wildlife. hot springs
And there is more! The importance of Al Ain’s distinguished cultural sites and historical background was recently recognized. Al Ain was the first site in the UAE to make it to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.