While its dreamlike landscapes offer a quiet but spectacular weekend escape for urban dwellers and adventure sports enthusiasts, to travel back to the past and to understand its rich history of heritage and culture, it is to the Hatta Heritage Village that you must head to while in this tiny mountain retreat. Showcasing rural living dating to several centuries ago, here reconstructed traditional huts and adobe brick houses bring to life the traditional life of an old settlement.
These traditional houses — some featuring a majlis, store, kitchen and master bedroom — are overlooked by two round towers, the Southern and Northern Towers, built on two mountains to protect the village from external attacks. These towers were built in the 1880s.
One of the largest houses in the Heritage Village is the Al Husen complex and features a large majlis covered in palm straw mats where the governor received guests and met with the villagers. Al Husen also contains the governor’s living quarters and weapons room. The curved swords known as ‘katarah’ as well as daggers that were used both as a weapon and an ornament can be seen here. Also on display is a leather cartridge belt with bullets. The tower room has a sentry point where guards kept watch for any signs of imminent danger. You can still see the fixtures on walls that were used to hang lanterns and weapons.
The other houses in the Heritage Village give you an insight into the social customs of the day, from birth, marriage and funeral customs to traditional folkloric practices such as music, dance, poetry and songs.
Hatta was also formerly a prominent commercial hub because of its location at the centre of important trading routes. People not only traded and bartered in goods but were also active in agriculture, fishing, pearling and diving. Dates were harvested for both domestic food needs and for trading. Palm leaves were woven into mats, fans and carpets, while tree trunks were used to construct tents and houses. Step into any of these houses to discover evidence of the simple living of yore.
Kitchen utensils, and traditional pieces of furniture such as the mandoos or treasure chest are also on display.
Close by is the Hatta Hill Park, covered in lush green, and a popular spot for picnics. A tower within the park offers sweeping views of the majestic Hajar mountains and the village.
Hours of visit: 8am to 8.30pm (Sat to Thu) and 2.30 pm to 8.30pm on Fridays. Free entry.