Road Sign As You Enter the City

The United Arab Emirates is situated in the southern part of the Arabian Gulf and borders Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman. There are seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi; Dubai; Sharjah; Fujairah; Ras Al-Khaimah; Umm Al-Qaiwain and Ajman. Al Ain was built around an oasis in the desert, where the sand dunes meet the arid mountains of Oman. It is in the largest emirate, Abu Dhabi.

The City Centre

At the centre of Al Ain is the Clock Tower. Main Street radiates from the Clock Tower and the Post Office is close by. These photos were taken mid-afternoon when the streets are empty. At other times the city is alive with people and cars.

Jebel Hafeet

Jebel is Arabic for mountain. Jebel Hafeet is about five miles south of the Clock Tower, and dominates Al Ain. It is approximately 4000 ft high and can be seen from many miles away. Its slopes are extremely wild and rugged, but a winding highway leads to the top. On top is a palace and soon there will be a hotel.

(The last three pictures are more than 200 KB each. Because we like them we didn't reduce them.)

The Mountains of Oman

The U.A.E. town of Al Ain and the Omani town of Al Buraimi form a single conurbation. The border goes through the middle, but the nearest border post is ten miles into Oman so you can drive or walk from one to the other without hindrance.

That part of Oman which forms the south-eastern periphery of the conurbation consists of rocky mountains and wadis (gullies). These are easily accessible from Al Ain town.

(Views from the tops courtesy of our friend Peter Caspar.)

Hilli Archaeological Park

Al Ain has many parks, all of which are surprisingly green and floral. Hilli Archaeological Park has an ancient tomb, beautiful gardens, children's playgrounds and a mosque. It is one of the best places to view the bougainvillaea, a flowering shrub that can be found all over Al Ain

Hotels

At the time of writing Al Ain has two 5-star hotels. There is also the Buraimi Hotel across town in Oman. Two other hotels are under construction - one near the town centre and one on top of Jebel Hafeet.

The Desert

Al Ain is surrounded on three sides by rolling sand dunes. Some are truly enormous. All have the deep orange sand which distinguishes this region. 'Duning' in 4 wheel drive vehicles is a popular recreation. Some brave souls even walk in the desert, but clearly caution is required given that to the inexperienced, one dune looks pretty much like another, there are thousands of square miles of them, and the summer temperature can exceed 50 centigrade.

Schools

There are many private schools in town.

Amongst our friends the most popular are The Al Ain English Speaking School and Chouiefat. They are very different both in size and character. Both have their advocates.

Round and About

A few photos taken around the city.

Bida Bint Saud is a big rock out in the desert to the north of the town. There are re-creations of ancient tombs on top.

In the spring of '96 it rained so much that the wadis in the middle of town became rivers - they are normally completely dry.

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