Taking the high road to culture
LONG AND WINDING... The road to the peak of Jebel Hafeet, where one can view the whole city of Al Ain, was built in 1980. The 11.7 km road has 60 turns and three lanes, two ascending and one descending.
Nothing can replace visiting museums and heritage sites
Published: Sat 19 Aug 2017, 10:57 PM
Last updated: Sun 20 Aug 2017, 1:05 AM
Despite the convenience offered by modern technology and social media connectivity, nothing can replace visiting museums and heritage sites to get a more immersing experience of the traditional Emirati culture.
Jebel Hafeet, Abu Dhabi's highest peak is such a fantastic drive for motorists or cycle for those with stamina, to the top via a winding highway. On reaching the top, you'll explore the magnificent views over Al Ain, where you can take a break at the Mercure Jebel Hafeet hotel near the Jebel's peak. This towering rocky height, which stands guard over Al Ain and borders Oman, is forged out of craggy limestone that has been weathered over millions of years.
Also in Al Ain city, you cannot miss out on a glimpse into the UAE's past by visiting the Al Ain Oasis, the city's largest irrigated and one of the world's oldest permanently inhabited settlements - dating back more than 4,000 years. The oasis covers more than 1,200 hectares and contains more than 147,000 date palm trees. The visitors can explore the oasis's 'aflaj' irrigation system of narrow waterways that carry fresh spring water from the nearby Hajar Mountains.
Just to the east of the oasis is Al Ain National Museum, the oldest museum in Al Ain and contains artifacts dedicated to both the ethnographical and archaeological history of the region. Visitors will get an overall view of country's 7,500 years old traditions and culture.
On display are objects catering to the many daily routine activities of the ancient community, such as traditional education and teaching, recreational pastimes, house hold equipment, and professional gear such as those used for weaving, fishing and medical procedures.
Another must see is the Al Ain Palace Museum, one of the most important cultural places in Al Ain City and one of the best-restored forts of Abu Dhabi. Visitors can tour the family rooms and administration facilities that are kept true to the original fort when the late Sheikh Zayed resided in the palace prior to 1966, and give a lively impression of everyday life in a ruler's fort. It is considered a symbol and a memorial for the modern history of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Another important heritage site is the Al Jahili Fort, one of the largest castles in Al Ain and best-in-class example of local military architecture. The historical site, well associated with the history of the Al Nahyan Family, was constructed from 1891 to 1898 under Sheikh Zayed the First. Its location was ideal for military, as well as residential purposes, being in close access to water resources and surrounded by fertile land for farming.
More photos: Exploring Emirati culture and heritage in Al Ain