Tucked away behind the bus station in the old part of Al Ain, the Al Ain National Museum is often overlooked – it took me 6 years to visit it and even then it was in response to an invitation to publicize World Heritage Day on my blog.
The attraction is in two parts – the museum itself which is housed in a climate controlled modern building, and secondly the Eastern Fort, also known as Sultan Fort. The focus is also on two things – the ethnographic and archaeologic study of the area.
The museum has some fascinating artifacts which cover civilization in the area from its earliest inhabitants some 8000 years ago up to the formation of the UAE in 1971. It is not a massive museum but there is much to catch the eye, from early jewelry and trinkets to gifts presented to Sheikh Zayed from many foreign dignitaries.
What we found most fascinating however, was a 28 minute long video from the early 1990s which tells the story of why Al Ain came to be – not just since it was on an important trade route but also as it had copper deposits which were smelted and traded.
We visited on World Heritage Day which found the Sultan Fort full of craft activities which many people of all generations and nationalities were trying out.
I wish I had visited it sooner – and I will be back, frequently I hope!
GPS co-ordinates – N24° 12.967′ E55° 46.452′
Opening hours – Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – 8am – 7.30pm, Friday 3pm-7.30pm, Monday closed
Entry fee – 3 AED