If you didn’t know by now, Al Ain is a cultural and historic marvel – there are incredible archaeological sites and areas of great beauty.
There’s always something going on to help you find out more about the country’s past, and December is no different.
Here are the places to head for free family-friendly events and interactive workshops offering heritage, folklore, artistic and cultural events activities for all ages.
Qasr Al Muwaiji
The birthplace of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, will host a family-friendly falconry event on December 6, to celebrate the traditions of the region’s ancient sport.
The activity is inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and is still widely practised in the Emirates.
The event includes a series of interactive workshops and training sessions, teaching participants about the principles of falconry and its historical and cultural significance in the UAE and wider Gulf region.
A musical show on 12 December 12, in collaboration with Bait Al Oud, will see a wide selection of music from different cultures performed to reinforce the value s of tolerance and promote peaceful coexistence amongst all members of Emirati society.
Al Ain Palace Museum
To celebrate the Year of Tolerance, Al Ain Palace Museum will host its Cultural Connection event from on December 14 and 15, which will highlight the peaceful cultural coexistence harmony of the people residents in of the UAE, and featuring cultural customs and traditions from countries around the world.
There will also be a series of workshops designed specifically for children and performing arts from participating countries.
Then, from December 22 to 26, the Al Ain Palace Winter Camp will take place, aiming to instil pride in national identity and Emirati heritage. The event will develop students’ life skills and promote the cultural sites of Al Ain.
Al Jahili Fort
The Fort will host The Trucial Scout from December 8 and to 29, an exhibition of artefacts dating back to the 1950s on loan from the Armed Forces Museum & Military History Centre in Abu Dhabi.
The items narrate the era of the Trucial Scouts in Al Jahili Fort, which was the headquarters of the military force striving to enhance security in the region.
Each Saturday during its run, the programme includes tours and a number of talks with military officers who served at that time.
The Sharjah National Theatre Company will screen the Emirati play Majareeh on December 27, which focuses on the values of tolerance and beauty.
Al Qattara Arts Centre
The Al Qattara Cinema Programme will start on December 13, with a screening of the short film Lemon by Abdul Rahman Al Madani, followed by the documentary Hamama directed by Nujoom Alghanem.
The centre will also host the first edition of its Makhaweer programme on December 28, dedicated to celebrating the world of fashion and jewellery. The event will include a number of expert designers including Shamsa Al Muhairi, traditional fashion specialist; Aisha Al Jabri, traditional jewellery specialist; and Mona Al Muhairi, Emirati Abaya specialist. The event aims to introduce visitors to fashion styles and trends followed by Emirati women over the years up until the present day.
Al Ain Oasis
The UNESCO World Heritage site will host Travel Through Our Traditions on December 14, an event which gives people the chance to experience the local customs and traditions for selling and buying goods in the UAE and be immerse themselves into the distinctive style and urban character of old markets.
Then, from December 19 to 21, Weekends at the Oasis will have a farmer’s market, traditional oasis-inspired handicrafts, Emirati cooking demonstrations, interactive games, horseback riding and bicycle tours through the oasis. There will also be an educational workshop on the ancient irrigation system Falaj, as well as various arts and crafts workshops for all ages and abilities.