A sleepy final stop on the road to Oman, this gorgeous town is nestled in the foothills of the Hajar Mountains. Hatta is an oasis where the fresh water allows fruits, vegetables, and acres of date palms to flourish. The town site was strategically important, as it's located at the end of one of the few easy mountain passes. Hatta was fought over and passed between Oman and Dubai, until it was firmly established that Dubai had control at the end of the 19th century. Today the 100-year-old residential quarter is being renovated, and much of its population is living in a nearby modern suburb.
In 1896 the Al-Matkoums ordered a fort built in Hatta. It and a handful of surrounding buildings have been restored under the banner Hatta Heritage Village. Each building is dedicated to a different traditional skill that was practiced by local people just a couple of generations ago. A simple family home sits alongside a potter's workshop, a blacksmith's forge, tobacco-drying sheds, a
textile-dying and weaving area, and a palm factory where palm wood and palm fronds are processed into various practical items. Gurgling water that flows along a restored traditional irrigation system provides a cooling backdrop. Climb up through the village to the topmost tower for views to the east across the town and the desert. A gallery in one of the towers displays photographs of the fort during its heyday and provides written background on the border disputes. Life-size figurines with rifles kneel against the tiny lookout window, as if awaiting the enemy.
Hatta, Ajman, United Arab Emirates