Jebel Hafit Desert Park, Al Ain’s newest tourist attraction, was inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, yesterday.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Executive Director of the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office, at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT of Abu Dhabi, Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport, Saood Al Hosani, Acting Under-Secretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, and other dignitaries were also present at the ceremony hosted by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
After the opening ceremony, H.H. Sheikh Khalid was given a tour of the park to see for himself the facilities available there.
Jebel Hafit Desert Park is located about 20km south of Al Ain on the eastern flank of Jebel Hafit mountain and is part of UAE’s first site to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is said to contain numerous archaeological discoveries that include artefacts from the Neolithic to Iron Age period, 8,000 years ago excavated at the request of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, in 1959. Among the Park’s key attractions are a series of restored and unrestored Bronze Age Tombs (dating back 5,000 years ago) Sheikh Zayed believed that the ancient mounds at the site contained important evidence about the country’s deep history.
The village of Mezyad, to the south of Jebel Hafit Desert Park, became an important settlement and a number of historic buildings were built to defend key approaches to Al Ain. This includes the fort at Mezyad, believed to have been built in the 1890s. The fort will be re-opened to the public during the upcoming next phase of the project. Al Ain contains some of the most prized and unique attractions in the region and internationally. These include other UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the six oases and the archaeological sites of Hili and Bida bin Saud.
The new attraction will also feature a range of outdoor activities, including bike riding, guided hiking tours, several camping options – from luxury ‘glamping’ to individual tent camping – and also guided tours in powered carts. Visitors can also explore the scenery in the Park at their own leisure using the self-guided trails and signs.