The city of Al Ain which literally means ‘The Spring’, is an ancient city central to the cultural heritage of the UAE and the birthplace of the President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan. It remains close to the heart of the royal family and the people of UAE. For more than 5,000 years, it has been a welcome and a cool retreat from the surrounding desert and coastal Emirates. Known as the “Garden City of the Gulf”, it is built around nurturing oases irrigated by ancient falaj water systems.
With a population of approximately 600,000, it is the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the fourth largest city in the UAE and is located approximately 130 km inland from the capital Abu Dhabi and the tourist city of Dubai and borders Oman. Al Ain has the country's highest number of Emirati nationals and is developing as a tourist destination with the dry desert air making it a welcome retreat from the coastal humidity of the larger cities.
Mother Nature has been generous to the land-locked mountainous city. Its attractions include Jebel Hafeet, a 1,340 meter-high mountain, which dominates the surrounding area. It is popular to visit the mineral springs at its base and to drive to the mountaintop at sunset. Other places of interest include the Al Ain Oasis in the city center, and other oases dotted around the area, offering cool retreats in the middle of the summer heat, Al Jahili Fort, the Camel Market, many well-maintained parks, a heritage village, 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.
Two years ago, the city of Al Ain joined the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its rich cultural heritage with the likes of the dome-shaped tombs of Hafeet, the man-made water system of Falaj, and the city’s lush oases.
A cultural retreat, Al Ain also hosts annual events including the Al Ain Classical Music Festival. The city is a popular tourist destination with first class hotels, a golf resort, shopping malls, restaurants, a wild-life park, a go-karting racetrack and a recently opened water-adventure park. The city is also home to Al Ain Club, one of the most successful football clubs in the region.