AL AIN (ٱلْعَيْن)

Our first, and for some time, last destination in UAE was Al Ain. We stopped here for a day on the way to Oman. Fed by natural springs and set amid date palm plantations, Al Ain was once a vital pit-stop on the caravan route between Oman and the Gulf and is the birthplace of the United Arab Emirates’ founding father, Sheikh Zayed.

In 1952, the Saudis occupied a neighboring village in Al-Buraimi oasis. Al-Ain was assigned to the Abu Dhabi emirate under an agreement with Oman in 1953. The Saudis withdrew their small force from the Al-Buraimi oasis in 1955 after being defeated by the forces of the sultan of Abu Dhabi, and the dispute was settled by an agreement signed in 1974.

This sprawling city is listed in UNESCO, radiating out from the green heart of its central oasis. We visited Qasr Al Muwaiji, Al Jahili Fort, and the Al Ain Palace Museum. On the way out from the city, we made a short stop at Camel Market (entrance 31,50 AED) and drove up the snaking road to the summit of Jebel Hafeet Mountain (1 249 m) for sweeping views of the arid splendor of the Empty Quarter and stayed overnight.

Parking location – Jebel Hafeet: 24.083975N 55.764265E (🚻)