The picturesque Al Jahili Fort is one of the UAE’s most historic buildings. It was erected in 1891 to defend the city and protect precious palm groves. The former headquarters of the Oman Trucial Scouts, the force that protected the mountain passes and kept inter-tribal peace, it also served as a residence for the local governor. It is set in beautifully landscaped gardens, and visitors are encouraged to explore it.
Conservation and rehabilitation works carried out by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) in 2007 preserved the fabric and value of this historic building, whilst transforming the most recent parts of the building into an active visitor destination with an information centre and permanent and temporary exhibition spaces. The conservation and development process was informed throughout by archaeological investigations and documentation that allowed the preservation and interpretation of the various parts of the building.
The north wing of the courtyard is devoted to a permanent exhibition of black and white photographs by the traveller Wilfred Thesiger and entitled ‘Bin London and Freedom of the Desert’. The west wing is used as the temporary exhibitions centre, opening on to the court, while the south wing contains an information centre for visitors to the fort and to Al Ain, as well as a bookshop and majlis.