Popularly known as the ‘Garden City’, Al Ain is one of the oldest inhabited settlements in the United Arab Emirates. Boasting a long historical legacy, this city is home to ancient buildings, royal forts and several museums. For the beautiful city offers something for everyone visiting it, here is a list of most explored attractions in and around Al Ain.
Al Ain National Museum
Officially established in 1969 under the guidance of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Ain National Museum is among the most ancient museums in the city. Offering an insight into the rich tradition and culture, this museum is home to a wide collection of objects and artefacts used by the early settlers. The museum is divided across three different sections, each displaying a diverse and wide range of collectables.
Al Ain Zoo
One of the UAE’s largest zoos, Al Ain Zoo is a must visit attraction in the city. Officially opened in 1969, it is home to a wide range of animals including Arabian antelope, African gazelles, giraffes, eland, Oryx, lions, tigers, pumas, black spotted leopards and jaguars. The zoo is famous for its research facilities and animal breeding programmes especially for endangered animals. Apart from animal spotting, visitors can enjoy interesting activities like giraffe feeding, Jeep safari, camel rides and exhibitions focussed on the protection and preservation of wildlife from extinction.
Al-Jahili Fort is one of the UAE’s most historic buildings. A former headquarter of the Oman Trucial Scouts, this 1891 construction today is known for its design and architecture. An exclusive exhibition devoted to prominent photographers, artists and paintings is a major draw among the visitors. The white photographs taken by the popular traveller ‘Wilfred Thesiger’ are big hits with the visitors. The west wing of the fort is dedicated to temporary exhibitions and cultural performances.
Al Ain Camel Market
Popularly known as ‘camel souk’, Al Ain Camel Market is among the most visited places in the city. A former meeting hub for merchants and travellers, the market offers visitors a chance to see camels up as they are exchanged. For the ones who wish to explore the market and experience the proceedings, special guided tours are available. The market operates daily from 6 am to 7 pm.
Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum
Located on the western end of the city, Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum is one of the oldest constructions in Al Ain. This former residence of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was converted into a museum in 1998. Presently, the museum is home to a wide collection of goods and items used by the king and his family. Gifts and donations made to him by other rulers and patrons, war weapons and valuables are exhibited here.