Like other countries, the United Arab Emirates is steeped in history and tradition. Although the nation is considered a global country enjoying the height of modernity, the government continues to put a lot of effort into preserving and improving its heritage and historical sites.
All the seven emirates of the UAE have their own must-visit historical sites. The heritage and stories set each of these sites apart from the others, and all these places are worth including on everyone’s bucket list.
Expanding Your Knowledge of the UAE Through Its Historical Sites
If you want to go on an Abu Dhabi to Dubai seaplane and heritage tour, which is a fast, convenient, safe, and excellent way to explore the country, here are the best historical sites you have to see and other places in the other emirates that you have to visit, too:
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a key place of worship and a center for Islamic culture in the UAE. It is currently the eighth-largest mosque in the world and is renowned for its magnificent architectural design.
The mosque was the project of the late president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Construction began in 1996 and it was completed in 2007.
The mosque’s main and most eye-catching features are its spherical domes and four tall minarets. Inside the main prayer hall, you will find the world’s largest carpet and seven chandeliers adorned with millions of Swarovski crystals.
The interior and exterior of the mosque feature various high-end elements, including gold, crystals, and semi-precious stones. You will also find gorgeous pools and eye-catching lighting fixtures around the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the best structures in the UAE that combines the historical and modern values of Islamic architecture.
The Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi is a life-size reconstruction of a traditional Bedouin desert community.
The village features a traditional mosque and museum. The Heritage Village Museum houses a collection of genuine Emirati treasures, jewelry, historical tents, and weapons. It also has copies of the original handwritten Quran on display.
The souks and other areas can also give you an idea of the lifestyle and culture of the early Emiratis. You can watch a demonstration of traditional artisanal techniques, such as pottery, weaving, glassblowing, and metalwork.
You can also try your hand at making your own souvenirs that you can take home.
Make sure you also see the replica of a traditional irrigation system that demonstrates how the palm groves were hydrated in the past and visit the Heritage Village Beach to see some old dhows, boats, and the clear blue waters of the Arabian Gulf.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood
Located in Old Dubai, Al Fahidi teems with attractions that will take you back into the fascinating history of this emirate.
The Al Fahidi Fort is the focal point of this historical neighborhood. It was built near Dubai Creek in 1778 and it served as the home of the monarch and a defensive fort. It was also used as an arsenal for weapons and a prison in the past.
Today, it houses the Dubai Museum, where you can indulge in an immersive experience and learn more about the history of this emirate, the Bedouin culture, and information about what sets the city apart.
Al Fahidi also has several historic towers and buildings which are used for various activities, such as temporary art galleries and venues for concerts, performances, and events during the UAE National Day.
Hatta Heritage Village
The Hatta Heritage Village is another destination that allows you to understand better the Bedouin lifestyle. Because of this reason, visiting this place is a must-try activity in Dubai.
The Hatta Heritage Village is a small community located on the outskirts of Dubai. This village is said to be around 2,000 to 3,000 years old.
You will see a variety of original weapons, models, and prototypes that depict the traditional Bedouin lifestyle in Hatta in the village.
The village is nestled at the foothills of the Hatta mountain region and is located near major hotels and resorts. As such, the Hatta Heritage Village is also a popular destination among locals.
Al Badiyah Mosque
Located at the Dibba village in Fujairah, the Al Badiyah Mosque is considered the oldest mosque in the UAE.
The mosque is said to date back as far as the 15th century.
Also known as the Ottoman Mosque, this house of worship is different from the other modern mosques you will see around the country. It is a basic mud and brick structure with four domes in simple geometrical patterns and a main hall.
Although the church is quite old, people can still come here to worship and offer their prayers. A visit here will also allow you to see the beautiful sights of the nearby Hajar Mountains and the Persian Gulf.
Al Jahili Fort
Al Ain also has its fair share of historical landmarks. It's most famous is the Al Jahili Fort.
The fort was built in 1891 to protect the city’s palm groves. Through the years, it also served as the headquarters of the Oman Trucial Scouts and as a governor’s residence.
At present, the Al Jahili Fort remains a historic structure that houses collections from past expeditions of renowned adventurers. These include finds from the 1940 expedition of Sir Wilfred Thesiger across the Rub Al Khali desert. There are also exhibitions on Zayed I in the fort.
You will also be delighted by the beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding the fort.
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization
Finally, if you want to know more about Islam, Sharjah has the perfect attraction for you: the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.
The museum was opened in 2008 after the building, the former Souq al-Majarrah, was transformed into its current state-of-the-art facilities. It is located at the historical heart of Sharjah on the Majarrah Waterfront on the shore of the Sharjah Creek.
The museum offers visitors a rich insight into the Arabian culture. It houses over 5,000 Islamic artifacts from all over the world, including scriptures, carvings, paintings, and calligraphy.
You will also find a collection of traditional tools and equipment that will allow you to broaden your knowledge about Islam.
The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization is also known for its stunning zodiac mosaic in the huge central dome.
By visiting these historical places, you will boost your cultural awareness. Moreover, you will be able to explore amazing UAE landmarks and see beautiful sights.