Visitors can get to travel back in time to an era of citadels, forts and towers in the mountain town of Hatta, that came to existence a few centuries ago. This peaceful retreat is set in the rugged peaks of the Hajar Mountains, is known for its ancient Hatta Fort and the remnants of an old village which is still being assessed by historical authorities. The area was once called Al Hajerin or Al Hajeran, referring to the two mountain peaks guarding its north and south borders, and it makes a spectacular weekend escape.
This natural paradise is located close to 130km south-east of central Dubai, Hatta’s rugged mountain cliffs, beautiful springs and lush valleys provide a contrast to the developed city. Hatta has fertile land that is favourable and the climate is suitable with a restored falaj, or irrigation system, once used for agriculture and farming. Many villagers were depending on the cultivation of palm trees, dates and byproducts for their daily livelihood. These desert trees were able to provide enough to sustain daily life; dates would be harvested for domestic food requirements or dried and sold in market. Palm leaves were used to make mats, fans and carpets, while tree trunks were used to construct tents and houses. Till date farming continues to be an essential activity in Hatta and, more than 550 farms operate across the nearly 140 square kilometre area, representing 10% of the land. Visitors will get to witness the remnants of this past in small farms within the village, along with plans for the future in the form of new bird and animal conservation areas.
Offering water when there was scarcity of rainwater, residents had to depend on groundwater wells and springs. There were construction of many dams, water is now available all year round in the wadis (valleys) taken care by the mountains. These are replenished by rainwater in winter, which generally breathes new life in the valleys, with flora and fauna emerging spectacularly. The Hatta Dam was constructed in 1990s, and it too two years for the reservoir to fill. Providing much-needed respite to Hatta’s residents, people now had access to a sustainable water supply. Hatta Dam has now become one of the main attractions in the region, with sparkling water set against the earthy rock offering spectacular photo opportunity. Covered by the mountains, Hatta enjoys a cooler climate than its coastal counterparts. The summits of the Hajar mountains reach 800m-1,600m and were first formed under the seabed in ancient times. Their imposing presence includes beautiful rock formations and crevices, sculpted by years of geological activity.
In the heart of the town is Hatta Heritage Village which has been preserved and reconstructed by the government to showcase rural living dating back centuries. Opened in 2001, the village brings to life Dubai’s heritage, with reconstructed traditional huts and buildings selling traditional wares. The village also houses life-size prototypes, documents, and sculptures.
Located within the Heritage Village is the Bait Al Wali, one of the largest houses, where the ruler would reside. It has many rooms, a courtyard and a shaded seating area. People can see cultural garb, jewellery, weaponry, pottery and utensils, made by villagers using clay, leather and copper, which was mined in the mountains. Visitors can know more about social customs, from marriage to folklore, games to traditional songs. This place is perfect to take a family on an afternoon visit. The main Hatta Fort, one of many structures built around the UAE for Defence and surveillance purposes and for public discourse. Built in 1896, the Hatta Fort is one of the most significant architectural monuments in the UAE. The building, which was restored in 1995, is made of mountain stones and mud bricks, while the ceiling is constructed using palm fronds, trunks and mud. The historical area also celebrates key events on the UAE’s national calendar, including National Day, Flag Day and the Dubai Shopping Festival.
Hatta can be visited for mountain biking, hiking or camping, Hatta is the ideal destination for thrill-seekers and nature-lovers.
Admission to the place is free of charge and public transport is available to reach the location by using public transport buses / Dubai – Hatta line, metro stations. Free parking is available in front of the village.
Sat to Thurs – 07:30 to 20:30
Fri – 14:30 to 20:30
From Sat to Thurs – 09:00 to 16:30, and Fri – closed
Photo courtesy: www.visitdubai.com
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