Al Jahili Fort

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Since opening its gates in 2008, Al Jahili Fort – set about an hour and a half away from Abu Dhabi in the lush garden city of Al Ain – 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.

Built of sun-dried mud brick, early restoration work was done on the fort in 1985, followed by a major rehabilitation project by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi between 2007 and 2008. Surrounded by a lush park, the enchanting fort has received the prestigious Terra Award for Internal Design and Layout in 2016.

Transformed into a cultural centre and tourist attraction, it now houses a temporary exhibition gallery as well as a permanent exhibition devoted to Sir Wilfred Thesiger. He was an 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.

Nearby must-visit attractions include the historical Jahili Mosque, built around the same time as the fort.


Frequently asked questions about Al Jahili Fort

Al Jahili Fort was built in the 1890s.

The top facts about Al Jahili Fort are:

  • Al Jahili Fort is the largest fort in the UAE, built by Zayed the First (Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan)
  • Al Jahili Fort showcases the use of traditional mud-brick architecture which was used to build the fort
  • Al Jahili Fort is a symbol of the UAE's heritage that highlights the significance of Al Ain in the nation's history

Tickets are not required as entry is free to Al Jahili Fort.