Fringing the town of Hatta in the eastern United Arab Emirates’ Hajar Mountains, the Hatta Heritage Village is a restored mountain village that showcases life as it was before the country’s oil boom.
Comprised of the reconstructed houses of what was once a working village, the village illustrates different aspects of traditional life, from customs and crafts to agriculture.
Composed of about 30 buildings, including houses, meeting rooms, an 18th-century mosque, and fortifications, the Hatta Heritage Village transports visitors to life as it was a century ago.
Visitors can freely roam among the rebuilt mud, stone, reed, and palm buildings, stopping to check out attractions such as the governor’s house, watchtowers, and falaj water channels, which were once used to irrigate local farms. Displays of furnishings, weapons, and other artefacts reveal how the villagers lived, and regular live demos of old-timey skills like cooking and basket-making further bring history to life.
The village typically features on full-day tours from Dubai that tend to also include a mountain drive, time at the Hatta Rock Pools, and a desert dune bash. Some tours offer an extra dose of adventure; for instance, 4WD drives to the desert rock formations of Fossil Rock and Camel’s Rock.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Hatta Heritage Village will appeal to history buffs and anyone interested in Emirati culture.
- Admission to the village is free and visitors can explore freely.
- Bring a sunhat and sunscreen; the only shade is inside the houses and exhibitions.
- Most of the buildings are air-conditioned and facilities include a parking area and restrooms.
How To Get There
The Hatta Heritage Village sits on the edges of Hatta, approximately 83 miles (135 kilometers) east of Dubai. A 90-minute or so drive along the Sharjah-Kalba E102 highway from the city will get you here, but the easiest and most recommended—especially if you’re unfamiliar with driving Dubai’s desert highways—way to visit is with an organized tour.
When to Get There
The village is open year-round, but the UAE’s cooler months, between around November and March, make for the most comfortable visit. The village is open from 7:30am–8:30pm Saturdays to Thursdays, and 2:30pm–8:30pm on Fridays. Check opening times before visiting.
Must-Sees at Hatta Heritage Village
Even if it’s hot, be sure to climb up to one of the restored watchtowers perched above the houses; the views over Hatta and the Hajar Mountains from the fortifications are absolutely stellar.