Hatta Heritage Village is one of the most popular and unique landmarks near Dubai, especially for those who want to get to know the Arab culture and see some of the last remaining symbols of its erstwhile splendour. This mountain village, presumed to be over 3000 years old, has been preserved and restored to its original glory to give tourists a glimpse of how the Emiratis lived centuries ago. The village showcases all the aspects of life in the days of the yore- households, defence, economic, and agricultural subsistence.
Backdropped by the majestic Hajar Mountain range, date trees, and vast expanses of barren land, visiting this place is like stepping back in time. There are over 30 small and large structures in this complex that have been brought back to their original appearance.
The village houses the home of the Governor known as ‘Bait Al Wali’. Inside this house, you can see the master bedroom, children’s playrooms, courtyard, and kitchen, getting an intimate glimpse into the style of living in those times. The two Southern and Northern defence watchtowers looking over this complex are the most prominent of all the structures. Their doors are located at a height of 2.5 metres above the ground reachable only by rope. You can also visit the ancient cemetery located inside the complex.
What’s noteworthy is that, even after restoration, many of these structures are still standing strong on their original building materials like palm tree trunks, mud, stones, and reed. The museum inside the village has displays of traditional Emirati dresses, weapons, musical instruments, utensils, products made from palm trees, and other beautiful handicrafts and artworks. Here, you can also trace the history and importance of dates in the Arabic culture. You will see realistic life-size figurines of the Bedouin tribesmen in various acts of work and trade.
There are outdoor resting spaces, known as Al Barza, where tourists can taste the rich taste of Arabic coffee and dates. There is a shop inside the village from where you can pick up souvenirs and knick-knacks to remind you of this experience. Tourists can get information about the village in Arabic and English. Guided tours are also conducted here.
The village has been restored by the efforts of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA) that owns the Hatta Heritage Village. It opened to the public in 2001 and has been holding important exhibitions and events like the Flag Day, UAE National Day, and even the Dubai Shopping Festival. Remember to confirm the dates before your visit.
Location: The heritage village is located in Hatta, which is around 134 kilometres from Dubai, amidst the Hajar Mountains area on the border of Oman
Timings: Saturday- Thursday: 7:30 am till 8:30 pm and on Fridays: 2:30 pm till 8:30 pm
Price: There is no entry fee for locals and foreign tourists.
Places to visit near Hatta Heritage Village
1. Mountain Bike Trail: Hatta’s Mountain Bike Trail is famous for its scenic bike trails amidst the wadis. The landscape ensures that the adventure seekers get enough thrills while riding on the challenging tracks. You can carry your own cycles or hire one on the spot. This place provides the perfect spot to put up a tent and camp overnight under the starry skies and cool breeze of the night desert.
2. Hatta Wadi Hub: For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the Hatta Wadi Hub provides opportunities for zip-lining, rope courses, mountain biking, and even a human slingshot! For those interested in water sports, Hatta Dam is the perfect place for kayaking and stand up paddling. The striking green waters of the dam with the Hajar Mountains in the background provide for a stunning backdrop. Don’t miss to see the exotic colourful fish and birds while at the dam.
3. Hajar Mountain Trails: The rugged mountainous terrains of Hatta provide the best 4X4 off-roading experience. Here, you will experience an amazingly diverse terrain of wadis, dried rivers, shallow pools, and vast barren roads. Make sure to be accompanied by an experienced driver.
4. Hatta Rockpools: Hatta rock pools with their shimmering green waters, are the perfect place for a refreshing dip or swim to cool oneself in the scorching heat. Or simply, spend time on the barren stones near the water to feel the breeze on your face and take in the charmingly rugged scenery.
5. Tanor Lahm: For the food connoisseurs, a visit to the Tanor Lahm restaurant is a must to indulge in a delicious Emirati meal. The food here ranges from varieties of lamb, chicken, and camel meat dishes. Full sheep meal is a must-try. Don’t forget to relish the delicious Arab coffee with sweet dates after the meal.
Things to do in Hatta Heritage Village
1. See the Centuries: Old traditional Emirati architecture comprising of the mosque; two watchtowers, majlis (reception area), and houses all located inside the ancient Hatta Fort with the Hajar mountains in the backdrop.
2. See the antique artefacts on display like musical instruments, weapons, textiles, handicrafts, etc. belonging to the ancient tribesmen in the museum located inside the heritage village.
3. You can climb the watchtower to get an aerial view of the landscape.
4. See other attractions like the falaj water canals and an ancient cemetery.
5. Take a step back in time and imagine life as it used to be centuries ago while you take a stroll in the restored houses with their restored kitchens and bedrooms.
6. Marvel at how sturdy these structures still are despite being constructed using materials like mud, palm tree trunks, stone, etc.
7. Pick up interesting knick-knacks from the village souvenir shop.
8. Participate in the various exhibitions and events held at the village each year like the Flag Day, UAE National Day, and even the Dubai Shopping Festival. Make sure to check the dates of these festivals before your visit.
Best Time to Visit Hatta Heritage Village
The heritage village is an open expanse, therefore, must not be visited in April, May, and June that is known for high levels of humidity and scorching heat. The best months to visit are November till February and August and September, which are relatively cooler and less humid.
Tips for Visiting Hatta Heritage Village
- Pack light warm clothes as the weather in the mountainous Hatta is cooler, especially during the early morning and late evenings.
- Keep your passport and ID proofs handy, as you will cross the Oman border.
- Since there are no restaurants or cafes inside the village, you should pack water and light snacks.
- The audio-visual displays are not available currently but you can follow the information in Arabic and English.
- Since you will be walking for a considerable time, wear comfortable walking shoes and keep sunglasses and sunscreen with you.
- Have an experienced person drive you on the winding mountain roads. It is advisable not to drive at night.
- There are good public facilities inside the village complex.
- Try to plan your visit in the early morning hours to avoid the crowds and to escape the heat.
- There is ample parking space for private vehicles outside the village complex.
How to reach Hatta Heritage Village from Airport?
The distance between Dubai International Airport and Hatta is around 124 kilometres, which takes around an hour and thirty minutes by a taxi or private vehicle. The best route is via Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, which passes through S116, Sharjah- Kalba Road/ E 102 and Dubai Hatta Road/ E 44.
The village is easily reachable via private taxi (takes around 1 hour 27 minutes) and public transport like a bus (takes around 4 hours) and the metro train (takes 47 minutes).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best time of the day to visit Hatta Heritage Village?
Since it is located at a higher altitude in the Hajar Mountains, the climate at Hatta is cooler and can be visited for the larger part of the day. Visit early in the morning or evening to see the sun setting over the mountains.
2. Are there any guidelines to follow before going to this place?
In case you are planning to stay overnight don’t forget to carry a light jacket with you since the nights get chilly at Hatta. Don’t miss to carry light snacks and water bottles since there are no restaurants inside the Hatta Heritage Village. Remember to carry your passport and ID proof since you will be crossing the Oman border. Your driver should be accustomed to mountain driving since some of the terrains are rugged with winding roads.
3. What is unique about Hatta Heritage Village?
Hatta Heritage Village is a unique exhibit of the recreation of a 3,000-year-old preserved Emirati mountain village and its way of living. It houses the rustic and beautiful architecture comprising of the Governor’s house including the personal spaces like a master bedroom, children’s play area, and the outdoor spaces like the courtyard and majlis (open reception area). The other building in the village comprises of canals, a mosque, and the most prominent of all- the southern and northern watchtowers. These huge towers were used by the soldiers to guard the village. The first gate of the tower is located at a height of 2.5 metres, which was accessible only by ropes.
A section of the village is dedicated to showing how the Bedouin tribes lived and traded in the old days. You can see their life-like figurines of fishermen and blacksmiths. All these structures still retain some of their old building materials like mud, palm tree trunks, and stone. There is a museum inside the complex where you can see beautiful ancient dresses, weapons, musical instruments, and artworks on display.
4. How long does it take to go around Hatta Heritage Village?
You can see all the attractions at the heritage village in 1.5-2 hours.
5. Is there any restaurant available?
There are no restaurants inside or near the heritage village. You would need to travel to the Hatta city centre for a bite. Remember to carry your own water and light snacks.
6. Does this place require any ID proof?
Yes, since you will be crossing the borders you need to carry important documents like your passport and personal ID proof like driver’s license.
7. How can I reach Hatta Heritage Village by public transport?
There are two options to reach Hatta Heritage Village. It is easily reachable by bus numbers 21, 29, 8, and 93, which take around 4 hours from Dubai. The closest bus stops are Abu Hail, Satwa, Sabkha, and Gold Souq. Taxis, also easily available, take around 1 hour 27 minutes. You can also take the metro line M2 that runs every 3-5 minutes. The closest metro stations are Al Ghubaiba and Al Ras.