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About Al Ain

Al Ain

 

 

 

 

Al Ain , also known as the Garden City due to its greenery, is the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates. With a population of 568,221 (2010), it is located approximately 160 km east of the capital Abu Dhabi and about 120 km south of Dubai. Al-`Ain is the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates, and it has the country's highest number of Emirati nationals.

Al-`Ain is located in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, inland on the border with `Oman. The freeways connecting Al-`Ain, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai form a geographic triangle in the country, each city being roughly 130 kilometers from the other two.

 

 

 

 

city
Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
A view over Green Mubazarrah
A view over Green Mubazarrah
Al Ain is located in United Arab Emirates

 

 

 

 

 

History

Historically a part of Ṫawam or Al Buraimi Oasis. Al-`Ain has been inhabited for over 4,000 years, with archaeological sites showing human settlement at Al-Hili and Jabel Ḥafeeṫ. These early cultures built "beehive" tombs for their dead and engaged in hunting and gathering in the area. The oasis provided water for early farms until the modern age.

A companion of the Prophet Muhammad, Ka`ab Bin Ahbar, was reportedly sent to the region to introduce Islam to the people. He settled and died in the oasis.

The forts currently in Al-`Ain were built in the late 19th or early 20th century to solidify Abu Dhabi's control over the oasis. Wilfred Thesiger visited Al-`Ain in the late 1940s during his travels across the Empty Quarter. He metSheikh Zayed and stayed with him at Al Muwaiji Fort. This network of fortresses served as the trading and slaving posts for the area.

In 1952 Saudi Arabia sent raiders to capture Al-`Ain's fortresses and incorporate the oasis into the Saudi kingdom. Forces from the Trucial Oman Scouts, as well as the army of Muscat-Oman, arrived to recapture the oasis. With British intervention, the Saudi forces surrendered, leaving the oasis back in the hands of Abu Dhabi and Muscat-Oman.

Prior to independence, Al-`Ain was part of the Arabian slave trade network that extended from east Africa into the Persian Gulf. In the 1960s, Sheikh Zayedabolished formal slavery. Today, some families in both Al-`Ain and Al-Buraimi are descended from these slaves.

In 1971 Queen Elizabeth II visited the Hilton Hotel in the area, still in use, during her tour of the Persian Gulf. Following independence in 1971, Al-`Ain experienced rapid growth and investment as part of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, quickly becoming larger and more successful than `Oman's Al-Buraimi. In 1972 `Oman and Abu Dhabi agreed on the final borders to divide Al-Buraimi and Al-`Ain. Until Sheikh Zayed's death in 2004, Al-`Ain's municipal code forbade construction of buildings over four stories, with the exceptions of the Hilton, Intercontinental, and Rotana hotels.

In the 1990s, a serious uprising occurred among the laborers of the industrial district of Al-`Ain, Aṣ-Ṣana`iya. This uprising was suppressed by the UAE army and local police forces. All the laborers involved were interned and deported.

Until 2006, Al-Buraimi and Al-`Ain shared an open border. This border was closed in November 2006, and passport controls were imposed.

 

 

 

 

 

Tourism and recreation

Al-`Ain is developing as a tourist destination. The dry desert air makes it a welcome retreat from the coastal humidity of the larger cities. Many Emirati nationals in Abu Dhabi have holiday houses in the city making it a popular weekend destination for families from the capital city. Its attractions include the Al Ain National Museum, the Al Ain Palace Museum, several restored forts and the Hili Archaeological Park site, dating back to the Bronze Age. Jebel Hafeet, a 1340-metre-high mountain, dominates the surrounding area. It is popular to visit to the mineral springs at the base and to drive to the mountaintop at sunset. Other attractions include the Al Ain Oasis in the city centre, other oases dotted around the area — all cool retreats in the middle of the summer heat — Al Ain Zoo, an amusement park named "Hili Fun City", many well-maintained parks popular with families in the summer evenings, and a heritage village. Opened in 2012, Wadi Adventure is located near Jebel Hafeet and provides a range of water-based activities including surfing, kayaking and rafting.

On top of Jabel Hafeet is the Mercure Hotel.

Al-`Ain has three major malls — Al Ain Mall in the town center, Al-Jimi Mall in the Al-Jimi district, and Bawadi Mall located in the Al-Khrair District. Most commercial activity is centered in and around town center.

Another popular pastime for Emiratis and expatriates alike is spending time in coffee shops and shisha cafes. There are many cafes in Al-`Ain, ranging in size and quality.

Al-`Ain also has an International standard go-kart circuit. Al Ain Raceway was selected to host the 2007 Rotax Max World Karting Finals, an event which saw 220 drivers from over 55 different countries compete for the Karting world title. Al Ain Raceway opened to the general public in May 2008 and proves a popular activity for local Emiratis and tourists alike. It was announced in late 2010 that the 2011 Rotax Max World Karting Finals will be held at Al Ain Raceway, this will bring nearly 1000 tourists to the small garden city.

Like the rest of the UAE, Al-`Ain has strict laws governing the consumption and distribution of alcohol. Five facilities in the city currently serve alcohol, Four of which are hotels. The Al-`Ain Rotana, Hilton, Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet and Danat Al Ain Resort, hotels all have pubs, bars, or night clubs. In addition to the hotels, the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club in Al-Maqam also serves alcohol.

Currently, there are only four locations that sell alcohol for private use — Spinneys near Al-Jimi District, an outlet to the left of the Hilton hotel (next to the hotel's staff quarters), High Spirits Bottle Shop behind Lulu Hypermarket Sana`iya and the North Africa Market in Sanaiya.

The city has two English-language radio stations — 100.1 Star FM, which plays English-speaking hits alternating with Arabic-speaking hits, and 105.2 Abu Dhabi Classic FM, which plays classical music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Ain


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