- Sightseeing Type
- 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
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Sitting about a block west of the Palace Museum is the striking Al Jahili Fort. Built in the late 1800s, Al Jahili is the largest edifice in Al Ain made from mud bricks (a traditional form of Arabian architecture), and it has recently been refurbished for public visitation. The structure was erected as the headquarters of the Oman Trucial Scouts, a group tasked with the protection of the region's palm groves and the preservation of peace between the different tribes that once occupied the area. Today, visitors are welcome to explore the fort's battlements and watchtowers, which surround an expansive courtyard that often acts as a backdrop for outdoor concerts. Al Jahili also houses a small exhibit dedicated to British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger (fondly known in the UAE as "Mubarak Bin London), who is known for his journeys across the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) desert.
Travelers who have spent time at Al Jahili say that the fort provides an interesting peek at the area's history while offering plenty of photo opportunities. Recent visitors are especially impressed with the Thesiger exhibit. According to one TripAdvisor user, "The exhibition of Wilfred Thesiger's photos as he lived amongst the Bedouin prior to oil discovery show a great insight into the history of this country."
Al Jahili Fort is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; on Friday, the fort is open from 3 to 5 p.m. (Note that hours may be subject to change.) Admission to the fort and the Thesiger exhibit is free. Visit the Abu Dhabi tourism board website for more background information on the fort. To get to Al Ain from Abu Dhabi city, take the No. X90 bus from the central bus terminal — all Al Ain bus routes stop within walking distance of the fort.