Al Ain

Al Ain

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Al Ain also known as the Garden City due to its greenery, is the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

. With a population of 374,000 (2009), it is located approximately 160 km east of the capital Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

 and about 120 km south of Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

. Al Ain is the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates, and it has the country's highest number of Emirati nationals.

Al Ain is located in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi (emirate)
Abu Dhabi, officially the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, , is one of seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates . It is the capital of UAE and is the largest emirate by area , and second-largest by population , accounting for approximately 86% of the total land area of the UAE...

, inland on the border with Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

. The freeways connecting Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 form a geographic triangle in the center of the country, each city being roughly 130 kilometers from the other two.

History


Historically the area was known as Tawam, Al Buraimi oasis and Al Ain, which means "the water spring". Al Ain has been continuously inhabited for more than four thousand years and is considered central to the cultural heritage of the country. It is the birthplace of Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates. Today, the name Buraimi refers to the Omani town whose urban area merges with that of Al Ain.

Until late in 2006, Al Ain and Buraimi enjoyed an open border and functioned as a single economic unit. Then on September 14 of that year, the UAE government closed the open border and required all individuals to clear immigration when entering or leaving the UAE. While citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries may cross the border at any crossing, expatriate residents and visitors from other countries must cross at either the Hili or "Intercontinental" border crossings.

The area's numerous underground water springs explain its attractiveness for settlement. Traces remain of its traditional past, including camel racing
Camel racing
Camel racing is a popular sport in India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Australia, and Mongolia. Professional camel racing, like horse racing, is an event for betting and tourist attraction...

 and camel breeding. The ancient falaj system of irrigation is still in use in some areas; this system distributes underground water by a network of tunnels which emerge eventually into open channels whose flow can be directed and regulated.

Geography


Al Ain is located in the eastern region of Abu Dhabi Emirate just south of Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 and east of Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

. The Eastern region covers an area of approximately 13,100 km². Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 lies to the east, Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 and Sharjah to the north, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

 to the west and the Empty Quarter
Empty Quarter
The Rub' al Khali or Empty Quarter is one of the largest sand deserts in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including most of Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The desert covers some The Rub' al Khali or Empty Quarter...

 desert and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 to the south. The topography of Al Ain is unique and varies as you travel to the east. Jebel Hafeet
Jebel Hafeet
Jebel Hafeet is a mountain primarily in the United Arab Emirates on the outskirts of Al Ain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The mountain actually straddles part of the border with Oman. The mountain rises 1249 meters and offers an impressive view over the city...

 (Hafeet mountain) is considered one of the monuments of Al Ain, lying just to the southeast and rising to 1,300 meters in elevation. Sand dunes of varying texture that are tinged red with iron oxide lie to the north and east of Al Ain.

Weather


In Al Ain, the mean annual rainfall is 96 mm and the average relative humidity is 60% (United Arab Emirates University, 1993). Low humidity in Al Ain, particularly during the summers, makes it a popular destination for many people at that time of year. Boer (1997) classified the UAE climate as hyper-arid and divided it into four climatic regions: the coastal zone along the Persian Gulf, the mountain areas northeast of UAE, the gravel plains around Al Ain area, and the central and southern sand desert. More rainfall and lower temperatures occur in the northeast than in the southern and western regions. The monthly average rainfall around Al Ain was (100–120 mm) from the period 1970 to 1992.

Present-day Al Ain



Al Ain has a higher proportion of Emirati nationals than elsewhere in the country, but the majority of its residents are expatriate
Expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

s particularly from the India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n sub-continent. Many people are from Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and some from Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. There are fewer other expatriates than in the larger centers of Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

 and Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

.

Al Ain is often called the 'Garden City of The Gulf' given the many oases, parks, tree-lined avenues and decorative roundabouts within the city. Strict height controls on new buildings, to no more than four floors, emphasise the greenery of the city.

The city is known for its relatively empty roads; this is a growing concern, however, as the population is increasing and the roads have not been able to accommodate the excess traffic

Tourism and recreation


Al Ain is developing as a tourist destination. the dry desert air makes it a welcome retreat from the coastal humidity of the larger cities. Many Emirati nationals in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

 have holiday houses in the city making it a popular weekend destination for families from the capital city. Its attractions include the Al Ain National Museum
Al Ain National Museum
Al Ain National Museum is a museum in the city of Al Ain, within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.The museum, the oldest in the UAE, is located next to the Eastern Fort . It is on the eastern side of the Al Ain Oasis, the largest oasis in Al Ain. It was built by the former UAE...

, the Al Ain Palace Museum, several restored forts and the Hili Archaeological Park
Hili Archaeological Park
Hili Archaeological Park is the location of a Bronze Age site in Al Ain, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.Hili is the largest Bronze Age site in the UAE and dates from the 3rd millennium BC. Other remains include settlements, tombs, and a falaj dating from the Iron Age. Some of the site...

 site, dating back to the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

. Jebel Hafeet
Jebel Hafeet
Jebel Hafeet is a mountain primarily in the United Arab Emirates on the outskirts of Al Ain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The mountain actually straddles part of the border with Oman. The mountain rises 1249 meters and offers an impressive view over the city...

, a 1340-metre-high mountain, dominates the surrounding area. It is popular to visit to the mineral springs at the base and to drive to the mountaintop at sunset. Other attractions include the Al Ain Oasis
Al Ain Oasis
Al Ain Oasis is the largest oasis in the city of Al Ain, within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.It is located north of the Al Mutawa'a district and east of the Al Jhali district...

 in the city centre, other oases dotted around the area — all cool retreats in the middle of the summer heat — Al Ain Zoo
Al Ain Zoo
Al Ain Zoo is a zoo located in the foothills of the Jebel Hafeet Mountains in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. It mainly comprises Arabian antelopes and oryx , eland , gazelle, lechwe and can be found in the tree shaded paddocks which offer excellent breeding conditions.The zoo features a big cat...

, an amusement park
Amusement park
thumb|Cinderella Castle in [[Magic Kingdom]], [[Disney World]]Amusement and theme parks are terms for a group of entertainment attractions and rides and other events in a location for the enjoyment of large numbers of people...

 named "Hili Fun City", many well-maintained parks popular with families in the summer evenings, and a heritage village.

Al Ain has three major malls — Al Ain Mall
Al Ain Mall
Al Ain Mall is a shopping center in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Established in 2001, the three-level mall contains over 175 outlets in two levels, and more than a thousand covered parking spaces on a third level....

 in the town center, Al-Jimi Mall in the Al-Jimi district, and Bawadi Mall located in the Al-Khrair District. Most commercial activity is centered in and around town center.

The city is home to the successful football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 club, Al Ain Club.

Another popular pastime for Emiratis and expatriates alike is spending time in coffee shops and Shisha cafes. There are many cafes in Al Ain, ranging in size and quality.

Al Ain also has an International standard Go-Kart circuit. Al Ain Raceway was selected to host the 2007 Rotax Max World Karting Finals, an event which saw 220 drivers from over 55 different countries compete for the Karting world title. Al Ain Raceway opened to the general public in May 2008 and proves a popular activity for local Emiratis and tourists alike. It was announced in late 2010 that the 2011 Rotax Max World Karting Finals will be held at Al Ain Raceway, this will bring nearly 1000 tourists to the small garden city.

Like the rest of the UAE, Al Ain has strict laws governing the consumption and distribution of alcohol. Four facilities in the city currently serve alcohol, three of which are hotels. The Al Ain Rotana
Rotana Hotels
Rotana Hotel Management Corporation Ltd is a hotel management company in the Middle East and North Africa region and part of the Rotana Group of companies. It has a portfolio of 70 properties and operates four sub brands which include Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Centro Hotels by Rotana, Rayhaan...

, Hilton
Hilton Hotels
Hilton Hotels & Resorts is an international chain of full-service hotels and resorts founded by Conrad Hilton and now owned by Hilton Worldwide. Hilton hotels are either owned by, managed by, or franchised to independent operators by Hilton Worldwide. Hilton Hotels became the first coast-to-coast...

, and Intercontinental
Intercontinental
Intercontinental may refer to:* anything spanning several continents* Intercontinental ballistic missile* the InterContinental hotel chain* InterContinental Hotels Group* Intercontinental Cup * Intercontinental Championship...

 hotels all have pubs, bars, or night clubs. In addition to the hotels, the Al Ain Palms Sports Resort in Al-Maqam also serves alcohol.

Currently, there are only three locations that sell alcohol for private use — Spinneys
Spinneys
Spinneys is a high-end supermarket chain in the Middle East which begun as railway provision merchants, and expanded to a grocery firm importing British Empire goods to the Mandate Palestine...

 near the Al-Jimi district, an outlet to the left of the Hilton hotel (next to the hotel's staff quarters), and the North Africa Market in Sanaiya.

The city has two English-speaking radio stations 100.1 Star FM, which plays English-speaking hits alternating with Arabic-speaking hits, and 105.2 Abu Dhabi Classic FM, which plays classical music.

Oasis





Al Ain's oasis are known for its underground irrigation system "falaj" (or qanāt from Arabic قناة‎) that brings water from boreholes to water farms and palm trees. Falaj irrigation is an ancient system dating back thousands of years and is used widely in Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

, UAE, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and other countries. Al Ain has seven oases; the largest is Al Ain Oasis
Al Ain Oasis
Al Ain Oasis is the largest oasis in the city of Al Ain, within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.It is located north of the Al Mutawa'a district and east of the Al Jhali district...

, near to Old Sarooj, and the smallest is Al Jahili Oasis. The rest are Qattara, Al Mutaredh, Al Jimi, Al Muaiji, and Hili.

Commerce and industry


Al Ain is an important services center for a wide area extending into Oman. There are three major shopping centers, Al Ain Mall
Al Ain Mall
Al Ain Mall is a shopping center in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Established in 2001, the three-level mall contains over 175 outlets in two levels, and more than a thousand covered parking spaces on a third level....

, Al Jimi Mall and Al Bawadi Mall (opened in 2009 in the Al Khrair area) as well as traditional souks for fruit and vegetables and livestock. Industry is growing, but is still on a small scale, and includes the Coca Cola bottling plant and the Al Ain Portland Cement Works. The water in Al Ain is very good. Service industries such as car sales, mechanics and other artisans are located in the area known as Sanaiya and Pattan Market.Social and governmental infrastructure includes United Arab Emirates University
United Arab Emirates University
United Arab Emirates University was established in 1976, and is the oldest of the three government-sponsored institutions of higher learning in the United Arab Emirates compared to the Higher Colleges of Technology and Zayed University...

, Higher Colleges of Technology
Higher Colleges of Technology
The Higher Colleges of Technology was established in 1988, and is the largest institution of higher learning in the United Arab Emirates with over 19,000 students. During the 2011 - 2012 academic year there were 12,217 female and 7,298 male students enrolled at 17 campuses and 92 programs...

, Abu Dhabi University
Abu Dhabi University
Abu Dhabi University was established in 2003, after three years of planning by H. H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nayhan and other distinguished citizens of the United Arab Emirates.The University has stated: -Accreditation:...

 (Al Ain campus), well-equipped medical facilities including the teaching hospital at Tawam, military training areas and Al Ain International Airport
Al Ain International Airport
Al Ain International Airport is an airport located in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. It was opened in March 31, 1994. Fourteen flights and 4,000 passenger pass through the airport each week...

.

Education


Al Ain is home to the main federal university in the UAE, United Arab Emirates University
United Arab Emirates University
United Arab Emirates University was established in 1976, and is the oldest of the three government-sponsored institutions of higher learning in the United Arab Emirates compared to the Higher Colleges of Technology and Zayed University...

, and to two campuses of the Higher Colleges of Technology - Al Ain Men's College and Al Ain Women's College. There are also several private higher education institutions including the Al Ain University of Science and Technology
Al Ain University of Science and Technology
Al Ain University of Science and Technology was established in 2005 and is located in the city of Al Ain, within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.- Overview :...

 and Abu Dhabi University
Abu Dhabi University
Abu Dhabi University was established in 2003, after three years of planning by H. H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nayhan and other distinguished citizens of the United Arab Emirates.The University has stated: -Accreditation:...

 (Al Ain campus). Many of Al Ain's private schools, catering mainly to the expatriate population, are located in the Al Manaseer area. These include the Al Ain English Speaking School
Al Ain English Speaking School
The Al Ain English Speaking School is a school for expatriate children living in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. As of 27 April 2010, the school had an estimated 1,150 students, 400 in Secondary and 750 in Primary. The school consists of children and teachers of many nationalities and ethnic...

, Al Dhafra Private School
Al Dhafra Private School
Al Dhafra Private School is a private educational institution located in the Al Manaseer area of Al Ain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates...

, Al Sanawbar School, Liwa International School, Al Madar International School, Global English School, Emirates Private School, a branch of the International School of Choueifat
International School of Choueifat
The International School of Choueifat is a collection of international schools run by the SABIS school system in various countries of the Middle East. The first International School of Choueifat started in Choueifat, Lebanon in 1886 and later spread to various parts of the Gulf region...

, and an Institute of Applied Technology campus. Other private schools include the CBSE affiliated school Indian School Al Ain.

Health


The first hospital in Al Ain was Oasis Hospital, established in 1960 at the invitation of Sheikh Zayed. Oasis serves all nationalities, and provides training for medical students from UAE University. Ground has been broken for a new hospital to be completed in 2011. Oasis Hospital is part of CURE International
CURE International
CURE International is a nonprofit organization based in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania. CURE's efforts are focused on providing medical care to children suffering primarily from orthopedic conditions. With the mission of healing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God, CURE serves a dual purpose in the...

.

Al Ain is the home of Tawam Hospital, a training and research hospital linked with the UAE University. It was officially inaugurated on 17 December 1979. In March 2006, Johns Hopkins Hospital
Johns Hopkins Hospital
The Johns Hopkins Hospital is the teaching hospital and biomedical research facility of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, located in Baltimore, Maryland . It was founded using money from a bequest by philanthropist Johns Hopkins...

 (Johns Hopkins Medicine International
Johns Hopkins Medicine International
Johns Hopkins Medicine International is a partnership program established by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to raise the standard of health care through long-term, mission-driven agreements.-Hospital Management:...

) (JHMI) took over the management of Tawam hospital.

Al Ain Hospital (abbr: AAH, also known as Al Jimi Hospital) is the general hospital delivering health services to all Al-Ain patients regardless of their nationality. It is centrally located in the Al Jimi district and is linked with the UAE University. Al Ain Hospital still occupies old 1970s buildings, but a new building is planned. AAH currently has about 450 beds and provides services in all medical disciplines. In September 2007, the Medical University of Vienna International
Medical University of Vienna
The Medical University of Vienna is a medical university in Vienna, Austria.Formerly the faculty of medicine of the University of Vienna, became an independent university on January 1, 2004...

 (MUVI) took over the management of AAH.

Sport, culture, and the arts


Al Ain is a cultural retreat for residents of Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 and Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

 cities. It is home to a major festival of classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

.

Al Ain City is the home of Al Ain Club, which is one of the most successful football clubs in the UAE and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. It has many titles and championships to its name.

Hili Fun City hosts two ice hockey teams, the Al Ain Vipers and Ghantoot. Each team has adult and youth teams starting from age 4. The Al Ain Vipers Men's Team won the Emirates Hockey League in the 2009-10 season.

The Palm Resort to the west of the town hosts a popular rugby club with adult and youth teams, and the Al Ain International Soccer Club which has three youth teams, including one for 7-9 year olds.

External links