Since opening its gates in 2008, Al Jahili Fort – set in Abu Dhabi's lush garden city of Al Ain, about an hour and a half away from the capital – has been a focal point of activities associated with the philosophy, culture and heritage of Abu Dhabi. Al Jahili is one of the largest forts in the UAE, built in the 1890s on the orders of Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, also known as Zayed the First, as the home to members of the ruling Al Nahyan family.
Between 2007 and 2008 the fort was impeccably restored by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi. Transformed into a cultural centre and tourist attraction, it now houses a permanent exhibition devoted to Sir Wilfred Thesiger, the intrepid explorer, travel writer and photographer who, with his Emirati and Omani companions, crossed the world's largest sand mass, the Empty Quarter (Rub' al Khali), twice in the 1940s. Al Jahili Fort is also home to a temporary exhibition gallery. Surrounded by a lush park, this enchanting fort won the prestigious Terra Award for Internal Design and Layout in 2016.