The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named UAE's emirate of Al-Ain as a world heritage site because of its oases, its traditional falaj irrigation system and its historical and archaeological importance.
The UAE National Council for Tourism and Antiquities (NCTA) and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), have announced the registration of Al-Ain as the first Emirati site on the World Heritage List, according to the Emirate New Agency (WAM).
The oasis city was registered as a heritage site during the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Paris. The UN body seeks to encourage countries to identify their cultural and natural heritage sites and protect them as per an international convention.
Director-General of ADACH Mohammad Khalaf Al Mazroui said work is underway to preserve several fortresses and historical places, including the Jahili mosque and fortress, and Bin Hadi House in the Hili Oasis, along with dozens of other archaeological sites and historical buildings. He said work is also underway to revive the original use of the buildings and to re-dedicate them to their original purposes (such as the old traditional market in Al Qattarah). Al Mazroui underlined that Al-Ain residents maintain old social customs and examples of these include the wedding celebrations, Bedouin hospitality, falconry and camel races. "The rapid development of this nation does not prevent the preservation of its heritage," the ADACH director-general said. During the UNESCO meetings, the World Heritage List committee members discussed 169 cases of protecting property, including 34 sites that were on the World Heritage List, as they faced danger due to various serious threats.