The United Arab Emirates is undoubtedly a land of modern architecture, megastructures and cosmopolitan life. But it’s also home to beautiful heritage sites that reflect the country’s culture and history.

If you are looking for a unique experience that immerses you in the rich history of the UAE, while offering you a different take on the fast-paced life you tend to live in this country, then add these heritage sites to your UAE bucket list:

1. Al Ain Oasis

The UNESCO World Heritage site offers an insight into the ancient oasis eco-system, which played an important role in the development of Abu Dhabi. Get lost in the winding maze of lush palm trees and narrow water canals

Enjoy moments of tranquility while listening to bird songs and the rustle of palm fronds. While there, you can also sample 100 different varieties of dates from more than 147,000 palm trees.

2. Al Ain Palace Museum

A visit to Al Ain is never complete without exploring the beautifully restored house of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, where he lived until 1966. 

Get a glimpse of how old Emirati houses were built and furnished before towers and skyscrapers filled the skyline. Notice how clever architecture was used to combat heat, wind and sand. The palace is also home to a giant Nahyan family tree and Sheikh Zayed’s favorite old Jeep.

3. Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasimi

Situated in the coastal town of Kalba, the house is one of the oldest and most beautiful heritage spots in the UAE. Built in1898, the house was the residence of Sheikh Saeed, the ruler of Sharjah. 

On display you will find a collection of artifacts and traditional objects, from swords to rifles, to a 700-year-old Quran.

4. The Sharjah Calligraphy Museum

If you are a fan of the Arabic language and its beautiful fonts, then visiting The Sharjah Calligraphy Museum should be on top of your list! The museum is actually an old Emirati house that has been turned into a space to showcase stunning works of Arabic calligraphy. 

It plays a major role in preserving this art, while also introducing visitors to local and international artists.

5. Ras Al Khaimah pearl museum

Dive into the ancient traditions of pearl fishing and its legends, with a visit to RAK’s pearl museum. This is a first of its kind in the region. This tiny Emirate was the capital of pearl fishing in previous centuries, a trade that has contributed significantly to the development of the UAE. 

The museum documents the pearl’s journey from its formation, until it becomes a precious jewel. It also shows how every bit of the oyster is used: for decoration, food and even fertilization.

6. Ain Al Madhab gardens

This heritage spot in the foothills of the Hajar Mountains in Fujairah is ideal for exploration and relaxation. The gardens are home to a mineral spring, an outdoor theatre and a heritage village. The village showcases many traditional artifacts, such as fishing boats and pottery. 

The site also houses the ruins of the Fujairah Fort, which has a distinctive architectural style setting it apart from other forts in the area.