Although Dubai and UAE stand synonymous to modernism today, they have a rich cultural history imbedded into the scorching heaps of sand. You will be surprised to know that there are many amazing historical places in UAE dating centuries back and holding volumes of rich heritage. We have compiled a list of twelve must visit historical sites in UAE;
This is the oldest mosque in UAE. It is located in a small town of Emirate of Fujairah; 50 km from regional centre. Also known as the Ottoman Mosque, it is believed to be built in around 1446 AD. However, there is no clear consensus on its date of construction. Radiocarbon dating has not been possible because the simple construction of the mosque uses no wood and only stone and mud.
This is the oldest fort depicting archaeological history of UAE. It was built in 1787. It currently houses the Dubai Museum. The royal family of Dubai has opened the fort museum for the public since 1971. It depicts the traditional Bedouin lifestyle before the riches of oil reached the Arabian deserts. It also includes artefacts and antiquities that were traded into UAE from Asia and Africa.
Bastakia quarters were built by Persian merchants in nineteenth century. Today, it stands a picturesque site in Bur Dubai. Most of the buildings restored have wind towers that display the earliest form of air conditioning methodologies. These are the last remains of old Dubai that exist in between the modern Dubai we know today.
Created in 1997, Heritage Village is one of the important tourist monuments of UAE. It displays the traditional life before oil. It depicts marine and mountain life and the handicrafts, patterns and houses used in old Arabian life. The Heritage Village also hosts cultural events. If you are lucky to be in Dubai during one, do not miss it.
This is a courtyard house belonging to the 19th century wealthy pearl merchant Shiekh Ahmed bin Dalmouk. It presents an exquisite picture of coral and gypsum construction that include lofty wind towers and courtyards flanked by cool verandas. Shiekh Ahmed was also founder of the adjacent Al Ahmadiya School; oldest in Dubai.
Of all the old villages in UAE, Dibba is believed to be the oldest one. It is mainly famous for its relics and tombs, some of which may date back to 7th century. Some tombs suggest that there was a settlement in Dibba, as old as early first millennium BCE. Dibba is also an old trading town with traders coming from East and West since centuries.
It is one of the oldest forts found on the eastern coast of UAE. Al-Bitnah Fort is believed to be built in 1735. Located mid way between Fujairah and Masafi, it is strategically positioned on ancient Wadi Ham trade routes through the Hajar Mountains. The fort also has unknown megalithic tomb that is suggestive of the fort’s ancient age.
Dating back to 16th century, this fort city is the oldest and the largest in UAE. It is one of the most popular historical places in UAE. This fort was built to fight back colonial wave and has impressive defence watch towers. It comprises of several connected houses, a mosque and a castle. The fort is part of old Sharjah and rests on top of a Rocky hill.
Al Jahili Fort:
Jahili Fort is situated in Al Ain City, Abu Dhabi. The fort was constructed with the aim of protecting nearby Palm farmers of Jahili Oasis. The fort was extensively built under the rule of Shiekh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan in 1905. Today, It holds a museum depicting old Bedouin life style before oil was found in UAE.
Al Maqta Fort:
This is actually just a single watch tower that was built around 200 years back to guard against invaders. It is one of oldest monuments of Abu Dhabi. It can be viewed while crossing Al Maqta Bridge. Situated between a cross of two islands, Maqta Fort is popular for magnificent sunset and peace and tranquillity.
Qasr ul Hosn Fort:
Also called the white Fort, Qasr ul Hosn was the residence of ruling Shiekhs of Abu Dhabi, the al Nahyans up until 1966. Originally constructed as a watch tower in 1761, it was extended to a residential fort in 1793. Today it houses artifacts, weapons and pictures displaying the old Arab lifestyle.
Jazirat ul Hamra:
Known as the Ras al Khaimah ghost house, this small town was the ancestral home of Za’ab tribe before they moved to Abu Dhabi. The town was inhibited from 14th century till 1930s. It is remnant of the now extinct pearl industry. Most houses are built with coral, sea shells, Palm trunks and stone and mud.