Al Ain is also known as the Garden City due to its greenery and has many oasis, parks and tree lined avenues, decorative roundabouts and traditional architecture. Surrounded by red coloured sand dunes and a magnificent expanse of towering mountains it is a city that has significant natural beauty.
Al Ain is the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates.
Al Ain is still not the first city Doctors think of when talking about the UAE but it is in fact one of the nicest cities in the country.
Featuring a far slower pace of life than Abu Dhabi city or Dubai, Al Ain also retains a wonderful local feel which is perfect for Doctors who are seeking a new cultural experience as much as a large pay cheque from their time spent abroad.
Al Ain is a perfect base for travel within the UAE it is located inland on the border with Oman, approximately 82 miles (160 km) east of the capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The roads connecting Al Ain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai form a geographic triangle in the centre of the country. Al Ain has been continuously inhabited for more than four thousand years and is considered central to the cultural heritage of the country.
Al Ain does not have the high-rise glamour of Abu Dhabi city and Dubai but, it still has a wealth of cultural attractions for Doctors to fill their leisure time with. Its top sights include the Al Ain National Museum, the Al Ain Palace Museum, several restored forts and the Hili Archaeological Park, which features ruins dating back to the Bronze Age.
The city is also home to three major malls and a wonderful selection of traditional open-air market-places (souqs), where all sorts of things can be bought. Within the UAE, Al Ain is seen as a cultural retreat for citizens of Abu Dhabi city and Dubai, featuring popular cultural events like its Classical Music Festival.
Al Ain is developing as a tourist destination. The dry desert air makes it a welcome change from the coastal humidity of the larger cities. Many Emirati nationals in Abu Dhabi have holiday houses in the city making it a popular weekend destination for families from the capital city. The area’s numerous underground water springs explain its attractiveness for settlement. Traces remain of its traditional past, including camel racing and camel breeding.
It is a fantastic place for Doctors looking to find work Al Ain is home to the United Arab Emirates University including the medical school so its public hospitals are all teaching hospitals, there are also several Higher Colleges of Technology, and has its own campus of the University of Abu Dhabi.
Although the development of the present city is relatively recent, archaeological exploration has uncovered evidence of human communities here, which date back to 3,000 BC. UAE’s history shines through among these ruins, revealing age-old settlements that once thrived in the area. The many forts, some still in ruins and others well-restored, are part of a series of archaeological sites visitors can tour
Al Ain National Museum
This museum in the centre of Al Ain has an massive archaeological and ethnographical collection, including some spectacular second millennium gold pendants and an important coin collection. In addition there are also reconstructions of a majilis (traditional reception area) and traditional life in general.
The museum has a reconstruction of the Grand Hili tomb with its rock engravings, and houses artefacts from an Iron Age village discovered in Al Hili, items from ancient burial sites near Jebel Hafeet and other items unearthed in Qattara. The museum recreates the way people of the region lived before the founding of the UAE.
Al Ain Palace Museum (also known as the Qasr Al Ain Museum)
Built in 1910, is near the commercial area on the road to Sinaiyya. Originally the ancestral home of the ruling family, the rooms of this beautifully restored fort takes the visitor back to an era shaped by nature, where good relationships with the local tribes was everything. Sheikh Zayed resided here as the very able Ruler’s Representative for the area before his accession as Ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966. The palace was turned into a museum in 1998 and now holds a large collection of material concerning the ruling family.
Al Ain University Natural History Museum
For those interested in the UAE’s flora and fauna, this museum is a small but informative centre run by the university. It includes a herbarium and collections of various species of animals and birds. A collection of rocks, minerals and fossils is also on display
Hili Archaeological Park – is the largest Bronze Age complex in the UAE, dating from the 3rd millennium BC, is a landscaped garden designed to highlight the archaeological remains and make them accessible to the public. Other remains, including settlements, tombs and an Iron Age falaj (an underground system of water channels), and are largely located in a protected area outside the park.
Jebel Hafeet – a 1340-metre-high mountain, is itself a fascinating landmark of Al Ain. This limestone monolith rises 1350 feet, providing spectacular views across the border between the UAE and Oman. A modern three-lane highway lit by yellow halogen streetlamps goes up the mountain to the royal palace and picnic areas at the top. There are also hot spring spa pools at the base, and the entire mountain is honeycombed with passageways accessible to any seasoned pot-holler.
Al Ain Oasis – in the city centre, the biggest of several oasis in the region, the oasis is made up of thousands of date palms. The oasis is located between the main souq area downtown and Al Ain street. Narrow roads run through the oasis, so you can drive through it, or you can walk. Walking in the oasis is especially nice when the sun is not directly overhead, as the palm trees offer cooling shade (other oases are dotted around the area — all cool retreats in the middle of the summer heat)
Camel Souk is open every day. Hundreds of camels are brought together to buy and sell. Dress conservatively if you visit this wonderful sight.
Al Ain has its own international airport, but the vast majority of flights arrive at Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
There is also a large zoo and safari park in Al Ain that is quite popular with visiting tourists.
Al Ain – unlike Abu Dhabi city and Dubai – doesn’t yet possess a reputation as a first choice destination for Doctors but it is a wonderful city, we would recommend that any Doctors looking to move to the United Arab Emirates should give any Al Ain job offers they receive some serious consideration.