By Sam Bridge
Jebel Hafit Desert Park, located about 20km south of Al Ain, is launched by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, has inaugurated a new tourist attraction in Al Ain, which features archaeological and historical remains as well as outdoor adventure activities.
Jebel Hafit Desert Park, located about 20km south of Al Ain on the eastern flank of Jebel Hafit mountain, was launched by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).
The park is part of the first site in the UAE to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains numerous unique archaeological discoveries, some dating back to 8,000 years, state news agency WAM reported.
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.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: "It is part of DCT Abu Dhabi’s mandate to preserve our cultural heritage, while also offering innovative, immersive and entertaining experiences for residents and visitors alike, and Jebel Hafit Desert Park does just that.
"The park will appeal to anyone with an interest in the archaeology and history of the region, as well as those who enjoy adventurous outdoor activities."
The park’s archaeological sites reflect many of the major transformations that have taken place through the country during the past 8,000 years.
Evidence suggests that this region saw the development of successive prehistoric cultures, from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, which saw its inhabitants’ transition from nomadic societies to the sedentary occupation of the oasis we see today. Among the Park’s key attractions are a series of restored and unrestored Bronze Age tombs.
In 1959, the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, invited a group of Danish archaeologists to excavate these tombs. Sheikh Zayed believed that the ancient mounds at the site contained important evidence about the country’s deep history.
The Danish archaeologists began work in 1961 and determined that the tombs dated back to 5,000 years ago.