Forts in Al Ain


Early in the 20th century, Al Ain had 8 villages – Al Hili, Al Qattara, Al Muatarid, Al Muwaiji, Al Jahili, Al Masoudi, Moaziya and Al Rumalia. These lay in a circular depression, within 10-13km of each other. At that time, the population estimate was 5500 people and by 1966 the population had grown to 7000. Now, the population is approximately 600 000 people. Multiple villages were built to border the city and protect Al Ain from potential invaders which would enter through the Buraimi border gate.

The natural springs in Al Ain would assist the building of forts and the use of water helped to build these structures with local raw materials.

Some castles and forts were named after the village, the Sheikh of the time or the shape of the building.








Jahili Fort

Jahili Fort was built in 1891 by Sheik Zayed Bin Khalifa (Zayed the 1st). This fort was built to defend the city and protect precious palm groves. This was the former headquarters of the Omar Trucial Scouts. Now, the landmark has been successfully restored and houses a permanent exhibition of work by British adventurer – Sir Wilfred Thesiger, known by the locals as Mubarak Bin London.


Al Murabaa Fort

Al Murabaa Fort represents a large rectangular 3-storeyed tower. This was constructed by Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1948 when he ruled the Eastern Region. The fort was originally used as a watchtower and headquarters of royal guards. Al Murabaa Fort was also used for public activities such as marriages and religious functions. At one time it was also a police station and a prison.


Al Mezyad Fort

Al Mezyad Fort was constructed in the 19th century and is one of the largest heavily fortified buildings in Al Ain. It has nearly 40 rooms inside the fort which were used as store rooms for military forces. There are 4 watch towers in the 4 corners.


Al Murayjib Fort

Al Murayjab Fort is one of the oldest forts built around 1816 during the reign of Sheik Shakhboot Bin Diab, a member of the Al Nahyan family. The fort was the former residence of Sheik Shakhboot Bin Diab.


The Hili Watch Towers

These are comprised of 2 towers- Sheik Zayed Murabba and Seebat Khalifa Bin Nahyan. The towers were built to protect the village of Al Hili and they are distinct in the fact that one is square and the other the other is round.


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