Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain

Historic old fort plus fascinating Thesiger memorabilia

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Of the many historic old forts dotted around Al Ain city and the surrounding countryside, Jahili Fort (1898) is one of the largest and most imposing.

Entrance to the fort is via an impressively battlemented main gateway, beyond which stretches the unusually expansive central courtyard, with various buildings and towers scattered around the edge including (on the north side) a much photographed circular tower consisting of four levels of successively diminishing size, each topped with a line of triangular battlements.

The fort is also home to the excellent little “Mubarak bin London” exhibition, showcasing the life and extraordinary exploits of Wilfred Thesiger (1910–2003), the legendary British explorer who stayed at the fort in the late 1940s at the end of his pioneering journey across southern Arabia’s fearsome “Empty Quarter”, one of the world’s most inhospitable desert regions.

Exhibits include an interesting short film on Thesiger’s life and travels along with assorted personal effects and a selection of the thousands of superb photographs taken by Thesiger during his desert crossings, offering a haunting record of a now vanished way of life.

At A Glance

120th St, off Sultan bin Zayed al Awwal St
Al Ain
Tues–Thurs, Sat & Sun 9am-5pm, Fri 3pm-5pm

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