History in Al Ain

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Inhabited for over 4000 years, Al Ain in the United Arab Emeritus is overflowing with rich history and culture. The city boasts notoriety for being the birth place of the first president of the country Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and is the 4th largest city in the country with over 370,000 residents. Positioned just adjacent to Oman’s western border, the freeway between Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain connect in the center of the country to form a triangle with each city being approximately 130 kilometers apart.

Al Ain Historical Past & Present

The area is rich in underground water springs, one of the reasons the area was settled originally. It still uses the ancient falaj system to irrigate many areas by passing water through a network of tunnels and open channels. Al Ain was originally known as Tawam and Al Buraimi oasis, and the current name of the city means “water spring.”

Al Ain has the largest Emirati national population in the country, but even so the majority of the city’s residents are Indian subcontinent expatriates, mainly from Pakistan. Teeming with parks, roundabouts, and foliage-lined streets, the city is often referred to as the “Garden City of the Gulf.” Camel racing and breeding are both traditional activities in the city that give insight into its cultural past. Visitors today can view this traditional form of commerce at the Camel Souq daily.

Al Ain is home to a large fort, the Al Ain Fort, that was built to protect the city from raiders. It was the base for Sheikh Zayed before he rose to prominence as the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi. There are also numerous other forts scattered throughout the city and its outlying areas that are in different states of reconstruction that give an insight into the city’s long and varied past. Many of these forts have been excavated or are undergoing excavation and reconstruction and some are open to the public for viewing.

Al Ain is also home to the largest of many oases in the area comprised of thousands of date palms.

Al Ain Border Crossing

Up until September 14, 2006, the border crossing between Oman and Al Ain was open. Since then however, the border closed and now requires those wishing to cross to clear immigration when entering and exiting the country.

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