Al Jahili Fort Overview

Al Jahili Fort is one of the largest forts in UAE which was built in the year 1890, stands today as a pioneer of Abu Dhabi’s prodigious history, culture and heritage. This fort’s exquisite history attracts a lot of travel and history enthusiasts globally.

Built by Zayed Bin Khalifa to safeguard the city’s interest and palm groves, this fort has stood erect and in full form for over two centuries now. Facing a plethora of battles, attack and war from the British invasion in the 19th century, this fort has played a pivotal role in shaping Abu Dhabi’s government and human rights.

Al Jahili fort’s history dates back to the 19th century when the division of land gave away fertile land with an abundance of water channels and a promising livelihood for people of Abu Dhabi. It was built in Buraimi Oasis, and now covers the area of Buraimi and Al Ain too. The fort’s structure includes a humongous residential area standing in the middle, with four cylindrical towers surrounding it. An extravagant garden on the entrance of this fort is where a plethora of entertaining shows and dance performances are held in the evening attracting a huge crowd.

Take time out to admire the fort’s interior which are extremely beautiful and intricate and feature a myriad of amusing paints, artworks and antiques. The hanging pictures of Wilfred Thesiger renders his exquisite time spent with Bedu people in the exploration of the fort. After its reconstruction the fort was opened to the public in the year 2007 and since then has seen a surge of tourists visiting it every year. Visiting this extravagant edifice is a must do activity when in Abu Dhabi.


• It was built in the 1890 to protect the fertile lands of Buraimi and Al adin and to safeguard the palm trees and water channels.
• It was built by Zayed Bin Khalifa and till date the royal family of Abu Dhabi resides in it.
• The fort went under reconstruction from the years of 2007 to 2008 and was opened to the public then after.
• The fort’s intricate architecture includes a humongous structure in the middle, four tall towers standing around it, and a well maintained lush garden too.
• The fort has a museum located in the northern wing which has a myriad of black and white pictures of the incredible traveller Wilfred Thesiger who lived with Bedu people and crossed a plethora of oceans to reach this destination in the early 1940s.
• The fort uses traditional earthen pots and modern cooling techniques to manage the temperature rise inside the fort.
• The fort hosts entertaining shows and performances in the evening for its visitors to enjoy.

How To Reach

Located in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and an hour drive from the capital which is UAE, Al Jahili fort can be reached by cab from your hotels. Al Jahili is quintessential and a very pivotal symbol of power which depicts Abu Dhabi’s intriguing history and rich cultural heritage. This fort guards the oasis and protects the farmlands and fertile grounds.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Al Jahili fort is during the winter months starting from November till February. The Temperature in Abu Dhabi rises up to 50 degree Celsius during summers and a lot of festivity during that time might cause hindrance. Hence, to explore the fort and learn more about its establishments, the best and most viable timing is during the winter. The fort features Al Ain oasis, an exhibition with incredible pictures, and a lush green garden which is a popular spot for picnics and outings. Tourists can easily explore this attraction away from the scorching heat of summers in the serene and tranquil atmosphere of Abu Dhabi.

Other Essential Information

History of Al Jahili Fort

The history of this extravagant Al Jahili Fort dates back to the 19th century when this amusing country of Abu Dhabi was ruled by Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa. On discovering the unique fertile land, Sheikh Zayed decided to protect the water channels, and palm trees by controlling the tribal people in the region. He bought the land and ordered for the construction of Al Jahili fort. The construction of this fort started in 1891 and ended in 1898. Unfortunately, the ruler passed away and his first son Sheikh Khalifa Zayed decided to reside in the fort with the rest of the royal family. However, a series of unfortunate incidents gave away the fort to British invasions which was used by the military as military bases and compounds. The fort went under a myriad of constructions and repairs and was given public access in the year 2007. The additions done to this fort was a lush garden and an intricately designed exhibition dedicated to the display of photographers by the famous traveller Wilfred Thesiger.

Architecture of Al Jahili Fort

Al Jahili fort’s construction started in the year 1891 and since then has undergone a plethora of reconstructions and refurnishing resulting in the structure we see now. From a military base and compound to an award winner for having one of the best architecture and intricate designs, Al Jahili fort has never disappointed any art admirer ever. The fort covers an area of 14000 metres and is currently the largest fort in Abu Dhabi. It has one main structure which was the then residential area of royals and has a long courtyard, well-furnished living space and fine engineering to manage the temperature in it. There are four tall towers surrounding the main area which served specific purposes in the past. Apart from this, Al Jahili fort also has a verdant and lush garden and a beautiful exhibition on the eastern stretch.

Places to visit near Al Jahili Fort

Al Ain Oasis 

A famous UNESCO world heritage site, AlAin Oasis covers an area of 1200 hectares and provides livelihood to a myriad of people. This farm lands provide fertile ground for the production of different types of crops and expensive fruits like fig and jujubee. This one of the most extravagant oases and uses both unique well systems and the traditional falaj systems to deliver water up to thousands of kilometres. Now open to the public, this incredible tourist attraction shows insights into farmer’s unbeatable contribution to agriculture and farming.

Al Ain Palace Museum 

Al Ain Museum is a pivotal historical and residential museum in which the royal family still resides. The palace’s first resident was Sheikh Zayad Bin Sultan who was the then prime minister of Abu Dhabi. The palace’s beautiful interior has won many awards worldwide for such intricate and lavish architecture. After undergoing a plethora of reconstructions and refinishing, this palace museum was opened to the public in 2001 and has been a pinnacle of Abu Dhabi’s unbeatable and rich heritage.

Al Ain Zoo 

Founded and established by Sheikh Zayed in the year 1968, this zoo is one of the most extravagant zoos in Abu Dhabi and houses a number of animals exported globally. The zoo hosts a myriad of amazing activities like giraffe feeding programs, hippo and crocodile exhibits, penguin show and more. From cute chimpanzees to royal tigers, this zoo is a popular tourist attraction and definitely should be a part of your travel itinerary.

Al Jahili Park 

Take a break from your frenzy vacation and enter into this park and relish in Abu Dhabi’s serene and tranquil climes enclosed in this beautifully well maintained and spacious park.

Places to eat Near Al Jahili Fort

  1. Quick Mood Cafe - At a walking distance from Al Jahili fort, this beautiful open roof cafe has a laid back and chill ambiance and serves scrumptious Arab delicacies. Relish on tasty hummus and falafels and enjoy delicious drinks as an escape from the scorching heat of Abu Dhabi.
  2. Zest International Restaurant - Choose from a plethora of cuisines like Chinese, continental, international and gluten free options and treat yourself to fancy delicacies. The staff are extremely polite and generous and the restaurant’s beautiful interiors will definitely lighten up your mood.
  3. Italian Pizza Restaurant - Quench your thirst for Italian cuisines at this tourist favourite hotspot which serves a wide range of pizzas with an Arabic twist to it. The services are extremely quick and the staff is very polite. Order the chef's special pizzas and enjoy the tranquil ambiance of this beautiful attraction.
  4. Moodz Sports Bar and Lounge - Order for scrumptious wines and beers, and feast on extremely fancy delicacies at this exquisite bar and lounge. The food here is well rated and has good quality and quantity. The restaurant serves a plethora of ravishing cuisines fitting every visitor's choice and expectations.
  5. Oasis Chinese - Enjoy chinese cuisine, with an arabic twist to it, and enjoy the enchanting and laid back ambiance of this restaurant. This is one of the finest places to dine in after a hectic sightseeing tour.

Places to Stay Near Al Jahili Fort

  1. Radisson Blu Hotel and Resort - Yet another successful Radisson lodgings but with even more laid back and enthralling room views, great staff hospitality, beautiful ambiance and a myriad of recreational activities. Book at this resort and swim in the humongous pool or simply relax in your spacious accommodations and order for room services.
  2. Ayla Hotel - In close proximity to all exhilarating tourist attractions, Alya Hotel is sheer luxury at budget-friendly prices. Thai resort has spacious accommodations and amazing recreational activities and amenities like pool, multicuisine restaurants, fitness centers, lavish interiors, indoor and outdoor games etc.
  3.   Aloft Al Ain - With a very welcoming and charming greeting, Aloft Al Ain ensures a very comfortable stay. From distinguished amenities to spacious accommodations, fitness centers, pools, and banquets halls, this Aloft Al Ain is sheer luxury.
  4. Al Ain Rotana Hotel - Enjoy ravishing views of Al Jahili Fort from your rooms and enjoy room services from the comfort of your rooms. At Al Ain Rotana you can get luxuriant opulent lodgings at budget-friendly prices.
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Day Wise Timings
Open Today
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
02:00 PM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 06:00 PM

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Al Jahili Fort FAQs

What is Al Jahili Fort famous for?

Al Jahili Fort covers an area of 14000sq metres and is one of the largest forts in Abu Dhabi. Located an hour drive from the capital, this fort’s intriguing history attracts a lot of tourists globally. It has a well maintained inside, lush gardens and an exhibition with exhilarating pictures and portraits.

What is the best way to experience the Al Jahili Fort?

The best way to experience Al Jahili Fort is by hiring a tourist guide. This fort’s history and rich culture and heritage are worth exploring and learning about. Al Jahili has a vast exhibition and each of the paintings and portraits have tales related to their past.

How do I get to Al Jahili Fort?

Al Jahili Fort is located an hour drive from the capital of Abu Dhabi which is UAE. Tourists can easily book for a cab to reach this destination.

Is Al Jahili Fort worth visiting?

Yes, Al Jahili’s intriguing past about its establishment and reconstruction and the tales about the royal family are worth knowing. Visiting this magnificent fort and admiring the intricate architecture is a must.

Can we click photos in Al Jahili Fort?

Yes, you are allowed to click pictures at Al Jahili Fort.

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