(CNN) — The UAE might have solely simply celebrated its fiftieth anniversary of independence however Abu Dhabi has a centuries-old previous.
The largest of the emirates boasts an array of UNESCO World Heritage websites in addition to a few of the nation’s most well-preserved forts which showcase its key geographical location over the centuries, telling the story of the Emirati folks’s connection to each land and sea.
A brief drive to the oasis city of Al Ain is the place a few of the most magical gems of the bygone generations come to life, a residing museum paying homage to the nation’s Bedouin roots.
The birthplace of the nation’s founder and first president, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, Al Ain is a should for guests to the UAE for a real style of its genuine tradition and heritage.
Known as the Garden City, Al Ain was as soon as a significant inexperienced oasis on the caravan route from the UAE to Oman and is now residence to a number of UNESCO protected websites.
Here are a few of Abu Dhabi’s key archaeological and historic treasures.
Qasr Al Hosn
The 18th-century Hosn Palace, or Qasr al Hosn, started as a single watch tower in the 18th century and, as the advanced grew, ultimately turned the seat of energy till the late Nineteen Sixties.
“There are beautiful stories about the palace told by people that used to live around this place,” says Nataly Leslie, a tour information in the emirate. “The palace door was very much open for people to talk to the sheiks and tell them their concerns.”
Today, the palace stays a key attraction not just for vacationers however Emiratis alike, who come and sit in the palace espresso store to savor the place they’ve heard their ancestors communicate of so fondly.
The palace additionally showcases native tradition with common exhibitions and occasions.
Al Ain Oasis
Al Ain is residence to 100 styles of date palm.
The first of the UAE’s UNESCO websites was the dramatic Al Ain Oasis.
Set in the coronary heart of the place often known as The Garden City, the web site dates again greater than 4,000 years and is proof of one among the first irrigation programs of recent occasions.
The system, often known as “falaj,” took water from the close by Hajar Mountains through a collection of slender waterways nonetheless seen right this moment.
Visitors can take curated strolling trails although the web site which covers over 1,200 hectares and accommodates greater than 147,000 date palm timber and 100 styles of date.
The centuries-old falaj system was solely up to date in the Twentieth century with the introduction of pumps. An eco-center can be accessible for guests to achieve a deeper understanding of the ancient Bedouin irrigation programs.
Bidaa Bint Saud
A treasure trove for archaeology fanatics, Bidaa Bint Saud, an ancient caravan web site, is situated 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Al Ain.
The fascinating space which as soon as had an enormous neighborhood of farmers extending all the method to the northern emirates, all using the space’s community of falaj irrigation programs, incorporates a uncommon Iron Age constructing and 5,000-year-old Bronze Age tombs in addition to the towering Gharn Bint Saud.
This 40-meter-tall rock rises above the panorama with a number of ancient stone tombs at the prime. Several of the discoveries from the space resembling pottery, dagger blades, jewellery and bronze arrowheads, are actually on show at the Al Ain National Museum.
Hili Archaeological Park
Dating again to the Bronze Age (3200 BCE to 1300 BCE) and Iron Age (1300 BCE to 300 BCE), this space exhibits proof of the ancient life as soon as dwelling in the space’s deserts.
Archaeologists have found villages, burial grounds and agricultural infrastructure from what’s now known as the Umm an-Nar interval, named after the island off the coast of Abu Dhabi the place the stays of the tradition had been first found.
It can be residence to the UAE’s largest assortment of tombs and buildings from this era.
Jebel Hafit Tombs
The Jebel Hafit tombs reveal the significance of maritime commerce throughout the Arabian Gulf.
David Steele/Adobe Stock
In addition to being Abu Dhabi’s highest peak, Jebel Hafit (Hafit mountain) can be residence to round 500 5,000-year-old tombs which mark the begin of the Bronze Age in the UAE.
First found by means of excavations again in 1959, archaeologists found ceramic vessels and copper artifacts in the igloo-like tombs which confirmed the significance of maritime commerce throughout the Arabian Gulf.
The single chamber tombs are a dramatic web site providing a window right into a time passed by.
Tour information Leslie calls this one among Abu Dhabi’s “hidden gems.”
“Most people don’t know about all these discoveries in this area,” she says. “Even though the UAE is a relatively young country, it has ancient findings that prove that this area was once a busy place where history was made.”
This small however crucial fort at the gateway to Abu Dhabi’s major island was erected in the late 18th century utilizing fundamental supplies resembling coral stones, seaside rock and sand and its tower would guard and defend Abu Dhabi for a few years to return.
“While Qasr al Hosn developed into a place of great importance for the local people, Maqta fort became a rest stop for people coming into Abu Dhabi,” says Leslie.
Al Ain Palace Museum
Al Ain Palace was as soon as the residence of the UAE’s ruling household.
Once the residence of the late Sheikh Zayed, the first president of the UAE, Al Ain Palace was lived in by the ruling household till the Nineteen Sixties earlier than they made the emirate’s metropolis their everlasting residence as Abu Dhabi’s major island transitioned right into a political and financial capital.
Visitors can get a glimpse of life inside the residence which stands as a reminiscence of the time earlier than oil was found in the mid-Twentieth century.
Though not “old” in comparison with different websites in the emirate — the oldest constructing at the advanced is from 1937 — it’s made from the conventional supplies of the period, dotted with the conventional courtyards which characterised such properties in the area throughout that interval.
Now a museum, guests can see the crucial hyperlinks between previous and current and recognize Abu Dhabi’s fast transformation from Bedouin life to fashionable affluence.
“If you are a fan of history and want to learn about the royal family and traditional architecture of this time, this is the perfect place to go, says Shamsa Al Naqbi, an Emirati tour guide.
“It’s an perception into the lifetime of the royal household, their rooms, the type of structure, objects they’d use, so it is a very nice place to go to to see the true historical past of the UAE. It additionally actually exhibits the transition our ancestors made to the fashionable UAE we’ve got right this moment.”
Sir Baniyas Island Church and Monastery
A little off the beaten track is Sir Baniyas Island in the Western Region which can be reached by boat or flight from Abu Dhabi through the Anantara resort, which manages the remote island’s tourism.
Discovered in the early 1990s, the church and monastery is the only pre-Islamic Christian site found in UAE, explained Leslie. It’s the source of hundreds of artifacts offering a fascinating insight into life during this period.
“Like life in the UAE earlier than the discovery of oil, the inhabitants of this settlement used the sea as their supply of meals,” she said. “They additionally stored animals like sheep and cattle and traded throughout the Arabian gulf and into the Indian ocean.”
Sir Baniyas Island is now a wildlife reserve, residence to a variety of protected animals from Arabian oryx to gazelle which guests can witness first-hand on safaris.