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What to Do in Abu Dhabi

Aug 14, 2008
A visit to Abu Dhabi is incomplete if you have not stopped by the charming Heritage VillageIt is serenely positioned overlooking the Corniche, near Abu Dhabi's Breakwater and only a short distance away from the imposing Marina Mall.

Visitors can guage some inkling of what life was like for Abu Dhabi's Bedouin by viewing a reconstruction of their traditional desert encampment - including a goat's hair tent and a campfire with coffee pots.

The Heritage Village also features a reconstruction of the "old well and irrigation system, mud-brick houses, old fishing villages and suoqs (bazaars)."

Quite interestingly the Heritage Village features several workshops that simulate old-fashioned metal work, the heritage village craftsmen often let visitors try their hand on such skills.

A spice shop within the Heritage Village treats the visitor's culinary senses and a small souvenir also shop sells handicraft items. A mini-museum featuring artefacts such as diving tools, jewellery, weapons and coffee pots, amongst others, rounds up the Heritage Village experience.

There are no restrictions for photography here. Therefore, visitors are encouraged to keep their camera handy for photo opportunities with the friendly local craftsmen amidst their exotic landscape.

Another popular tourist attraction, and local landmark is the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque. Considered by many as one of the most imposing religious and national landmarks in Abu Dhabi to date. It is also arguably one of the most important architectural treasures of the contemporary UAE society - and one of the most beautiful in the world - initiated no less by the late president HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, (who is fondly thought of as the father of UAE.)

The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque, popularly called Grand Mosque by local residents, is seen as a "globally unifying" landmark from its conception to completion, bringing together designers, features, materials and suppliers from nearly every corner of the globe: Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, Turkey, Iran, China, Greece and the UAE. Natural materials were chosen for its design and construction, which include marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics.

Also popular as a tourist destination is the Hili archaeological site. Situated within a public garden, it is accessible from the Dubai Road, some 10 kilometres outside Al Ain.

Visitors, including those with children, can enjoy the landscaped public garden whilst having a picnic especially during the cooler months. This public garden features an important site where remnants of a Bronze Age settlement was excavated and restored.

This site yielded a tomb containing the remains of well over 200 individuals as well as valuable artefacts including ceramic and soft-stone vessels believed to be imported from Iran or Baluchistan that are now displayed at the Al Ain Museum. Hili is near Fossil Valley, an area which was covered by sea many thousand years ago, and hence, serves as a mini-reservoir of countless fossils.

Archaeological surveys over the past few decades have been conducted at a number of sites including Rumeilah, a district of Al Ain. Rumeilah yielded what is believed to be the first Iron Age settlement in the emirate where a series of mud brick buildings, some still with roofs intact, has been discovered. The settlement, possibly occupied between 1000 and 300 BC, contained grinding stones, pottery, metal tools and some bronze weaponry.

Other archaeological sites are located in Qattarah (Al Ain), Mantiqa Al-Sirra (Abu Dhabi interior) and Ayn Al Fayda (Al Ain), to name a few. Plans are afoot to open at least one of these sites to the public in future.
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Property Select offers a comprehensive selection of overseas Property in Dubai and the Unite Arab Emirates (UAE), including a news feed, members club and reviews of the latest property developments from around the world.
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