Al Ain – The Garden City

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I visited Al Ain on a day trip. Since it was Friday and most of the tourist places only open after 3pm I only left Abu Dhabi at 1030 am. It took approximately 90 minutes to get to Al Ain.

We passed by Twam hospital as we entered into the city around 12pm, a hospital quite familiar to my family from our previous visit in 2000. From what I could see in Al Ain not much has changed in this city unlike Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Masajid of Al Ain

The first place I needed to be at was at a masjid for Friday prayers. Al Ain has more than 63 masajid and 18 musallahs.

I wanted to check out the Grand Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Masjid. This will be one of the largest masajid in the UAE but it will only be completed in 2016.

Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Masjid in Al Ain
I prayed at another masjid in the city center.

al ain mosque in city

I couldn’t figure out the name of this masjid.

al ain mosque inside

Al Ain Rotana Hotel

For Friday lunch I visited the Al Ain Rotana Hotel.

al ain rotana pool

The hotel my look slightly dated but it maintains its charm.

al ain roatana inside

There was a variety of dishes available at their buffet including Arabian, American and Japanese cuisines.

al ain rotana buffet

Al Ain Oasis

Entrance is free into Al Ain’s largest Oasis with over 100 varieties of date palms planted onto 1200 hectares of land. Some sections of the Oasis are privately managed farms. The Oasis utilises a 3000 year old  falaj irrigiation system which taps into underwater wells to sustain life in the Oasis.

al ain oasis entrance

Some sections / farms are in a better condition than others.

al ain oasis green

al ain oasis trees
Jahili Fort

The Jahili fort was built in 1891 to defend the city and protect the palm groves.

It hosts a permanent exhibition for the British travel writer and explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger (also known by the locals as Mubarak Bin London) who made to successful crossings of The Empty Quarter desert (in 1946 and 1947) with 2 young locals.

Al Jahili Fort entrance al ain

prayer sign entrance jahlii fort al ain

thesiger al ain jahili fort

jahili fort zaid

Al Ain Palace Museum

This is the former home of the late UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

al ain palace museum

The palace was built in 1937.

zaid guard al ain palace museum

This is one of the “Majlis” (meeting) rooms in the palace to talk about business.

meeting mashura room al ain palace museum

They even have the Land Rover that the ruler used to drive into the desert with to meet with the bedouin leaders.

landrover al ain palace museum

There is a room with the portraits and information of all the princes of the UAE.

al ain palace museum nahyan lineage

However I found information was lacking regarding achievements by the locals and further information on their history.

Jahli Park

Al Ain is known as the “Garden City” so I wanted to chck out some of the parks. In the centre of Al Ain next to the central post office and near Jahili fort with a Starbucks coffee on site is Jahli Park.

jahli park al ain

It’s a huge green space with many corners to have semi-private picnics.