An Historical Trip To Al Jahili Fort

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At the time of the end of the 19th century, Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa who was the leader of the Yas tribe and also the head of Al Falah house used to rule Abu Dhabi. In summers the temperature and humidity of the coast rise considerably and become more intense, so the Sheikh used to move away from the coast, towards the area with fresh air and less humidity. So, in order to escape this difficulty, he used to move to his farm in Al Ain and for sake of strategic purposes, he built Al Jahili fort there, in order to keep his grip of command over other tribes who were living in that area at that time. So, this fort became his residence in summer seasons.


The construction started in the year 1891 and it got completed in 1898, it took him seven years in order to build his fort. After the death of Sheikh, his eldest son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed refused to become the ruler. He and his family stayed in this fort. The next 30 years history of this fort is not documented and somehow the fort was then abandoned and it fell into the ear of disrepair. This fort was almost invisible to everyone until in the 1950s, the British forces came to the region and they transformed the Al Jahili fort into a greater enclosure and made it the regional headquarter. Barracks and other buildings were added to the compound. They used the fort as their headquarter till the mid-1970s. The fort was restored again in 1985, and then from 2007 to 2008, it underwent major rehabilitation.

Picture Credit: planetware

Its latest additions include a visitor information center, a temporary exhibition zone, a permanent exhibition zone which are devoted to the explorers. Al Jahili fort has reinforced heightened walls, four consecutive rising and narrowing concentric tiers which lead to a separate majestic round tower. The fort provided excellent defense for the region. Now the fort has four round towers, three of them are located at three of its corners whereas the fourth one acts as the reception for Sheikh’s guests and official business is conducted here.



This fort presents the perfect view of ancient Arabic defense tradition. In its restoration work modern and elite class of thermal insulation was used which provides a comfortable and peaceful environment within the walls of the fort and so the fort remains inhabitable throughout the year. The modern technology and innovative materials included an integrated pipe network filled with super chilled water, laid right beneath the mud-plastered walls under every horizontal and vertical surface. With this technique the building can be cooled down even if the temperature rises to 50°C. The northern region of the fort is committed to the permanent exhibition of black and white pictures taken the famous traveler Wilfred Thesiger and it is entitled as “Freedom of desert”. The west wing is dedicated to the temporary exhibition zone. The southern wing is dedicated to the facilitation of the visitors and hence they have built the information center for the visitors to the fort. A combination of traditional materials and new technologies has produced a building that is environmentally and historically in harmony with its surroundings.

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So, Have an interesting and historical visit to Al Jahili Fort but before this it is necessary to plan trip to Dubai and explore more attractions like this.

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