With the futuristic advancements of the country firmly in the limelight, sometimes the significance of UAE as a site with some momentous historic sites is overlooked. Take the Al Jahili Fort for example. This fort’s importance cannot be overstated. Located in the Buraimi Oasis, residents of the fort faced many armed invasions. So what looks like a beautiful tourist point today, was a military cornerstone and the battles fought here certainly have played a role in shaping our modern world.
When one reads about the history of Abu Dhabi or other emirates, it gives us a much clearer understanding of the struggles of the time and how things have changed so drastically. If you are a resident or a tourist, visiting the historical spots will give you a unique social and cultural perspective of the land. Understanding and analysing the past gives us the insight to build a better future.
All you need to know about the Al Jahili Fort
With this blog, we present a comprehensive guide for your visit to the Jahili Fort Al Ain.
History of the Al Jahili Fort Al Ain
The Jahili Fort is one of the largest forts in the UAE. Given that there are a number of such impressive structures in the country, it is an extraordinary architectural feat. The Fort Jahili was built in the 1890s in the Buraimi Oasis. Today, this region houses both Buraim and Al Ain.
This area, however, was the border between Oman and Abu Dhabi. Moreover, the land was fertile, and the underground water channels Aflaj helped with the date palm production. Hence, for invaders, it was not just another pit stop for future conquests but a resourceful land.
His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (Zayed the Great – 1855-1909) of Abu Dhabi and along with the rulers of Oman, took measures to safeguard the local population. This alliance started well before the construction of the fort and continued for long after. However, aside from external threats, internal tribal feuds were also a cause of concern for the visionary leader.
With his military as well as political acumen, Sheikh Zayed was able to take control of Buraimi in 1891. Construction of the fort started the same year. While officially it was the home to members of the Al Nahyan ruling family, but there was a greater purpose. The fort was built to reduce constant conflicts between local tribes. It was a strategic move and it did help reduce perpetual violence. When we look back, this was a significant development and one that had a profound impact on the political situation in the region.
Al Jahili Fort Today
The Al Jahili Fort today is a huge tourist attraction. Since its restoration in 2007 by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, the fort has become a hotspot for residents and tourists alike. Witnessing this traditional form of Arabian architecture is quite an experience in itself. To see such a strikingly massive structure, all built from mud bricks, makes you marvel at the mastery of the workers.
The fort’s battlements and watchtowers are also a point of interest for visitors. Considering the assaults the fort had to face, it is a bit surreal standing in the same place. This area is surrounded by an expansive courtyard, which is why concerts are organised here.
For history buffs, the small exhibit in the honour of British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger would be fascinating. The man is fondly remembered in these circles for his journeys across the Rub Al Khali desert. This exhibit provides a peek into the Bedouin lifestyle. It is intriguing and perhaps a little overwhelming to see how much things have evolved in the past century so.
For all that it offers, the Al Jahili Fort won the prominent Terra Award for the best Earthen Architecture in the world in 2016. You wouldn’t want to miss such a site, would you?
What are the Al Jahili Fort timings?
The Al Jahili Fort timings are as follows:
- Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm
- Friday: 03:00 pm to 05:00 pm
* Mondays closed
How much is the Al Jahili Fort ticket?
Entry is free for the public.
What is the Al Jahili Fort location?
The fort is located at Sultan Bin Zayed Al Awwal Street, Al Mutawaa, Al Ain.
How to get to Al Jahili Fort from Abu Dhabi?
Driving is the best way to get to the fort and it will take approximately an hour and forty minutes. Alternatively, the X90 bus travels from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain. From there, you can take any bus as all Al Ain bus routes are at a walking distance from the fort.
How can I contact the management at Al Jahili Fort?
You can call at +971-3-711-8311.
This completes our guide to the Al Jahili Fort. For people who have an interest in history, there is so much to learn. It really is a captivating place. If this sounds good, a day tour at the historic sites in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain would be awesome. Start at the Al Jahili Fort, then visit the beautiful Al Ain Museum Palace which is close by. Finish your day at the Souq Al Qattara. Now that would be a day well spent, wouldn’t it?
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