This carefully restored fort was the birthplace of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, current president of the UAE. A stylised falaj marks the entrance while inside the thick mud-brick walls, a glass-walled display hall contains exhibits on the lives and leadership of both Sheikh Khalifa and his father, Sheikh Zayed, as well as the history of the fort itself. The hall leads to the northwest tower, Sheikh Khalifa's childhood home, which you can explore.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Al Ain attractions

1. Al Jahili Fort

1.79 MILES

Surrounded by a lush park, this squat fort was constructed in the 1890s as the summer residence of Sheikh Zayed I (1836–1909) and expanded by the British…

2. Al Ain Palace Museum

2.25 MILES

This nicely restored, rambling palace was the residence of Sheikh Zayed, the UAE's founding father, from 1937 to 1966. There's frankly little to see…

3. Al Ain Oasis

2.28 MILES

This tranquil world of wide paths meandering past walled date-palm gardens, right in the centre of Al Ain, is a welcome respite from the city hubbub. The…

4. Al Ain National Museum


Al Ain's main museum was closed to undergo a major restoration in late 2018 with reopening stated for 2020 at the earliest. Before its closure, this…

5. Al Khandaq Fort

3.04 MILES

Buraimi has a large and interesting fort, with decorations that give it a Saharan flourish in comparison with the austere exteriors of Omani interior…

6. Hela Castle


This large, sprawling castle has been attractively restored and now makes a good photo opportunity in the centre of town. The interior is largely taken up…

7. Al Ain Zoo

3.23 MILES

Al Ain's remarkable zoo is the region's largest and most acclaimed; its spacious enclosures, inhabited by indigenous and exotic species, are impressively…

8. Buraimi Old Souq

3.24 MILES

The market opposite Hela Castle sells barasti – plaited palm fronds traditionally used for roofing and fencing – while just along the road, a lively souq…