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Sir Bani Yas Island



Did You Know

Sir Bani Yas Island — rich with culture in Abu Dhabi

Sir Bani Yas Island is home to important archaeological sites, dramatic geological formations and diverse wildlife
Sir Bani Yas Island is famous for its ancient archaeological sites, geological features and man-made attractions, making it a popular destination in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Region.

Salt Domes

Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is one of the largest islands in the Al Dhafra Region. The unique salt dome geology that leads to the creation of small mountains in the central area of the island is the remnant of a geological process that created outcrops of haematite and other rocks rising above the surrounding terrain and sea.

Archaeological Heritage

Archaeologists have unearthed numerous discoveries, including the remains of a Christian church and monastery from the 7th and 8th centuries CE, and flint tools dating back to the Neolithic Period (8000-4000 BCE)). In addition, a trading settlement dating back to the Bronze Age (3000-1300 BCE) was recently discovered on the island. Sir Bani Yas Island was first mentioned in European literature around 1590 by Gasparo Balbi, an Italian jeweller and merchant, who referred to it as being located in a region where pearls were found. The tradition of pearling continued to be important until the early 20th century.

Wildlife Sanctuary

In 1971, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, declared Sir Bani Yas Island a nature reserve. It is now the Arabian Wildlife Park and covers 1,400 hectares.
The park is a sanctuary for thousands of free-roaming indigenous animals and birds, and also has animal breeding and relocation programmes.


Sir Bani Yas Island Visitor Centre

The Sir Bani Yas Island Visitor Centre, inaugurated in 2023, serves as a valuable cultural resource to all guests, where they can learn more about the historic landscape of the island. 

The new centre provides an informative and interactive experience within an exhibition space directly connected to the Church and Monastery site, which visitors can easily explore. The centre showcases curated objects from various sites on the island, spanning different time periods.

The tablets and the informative panels in both the external and internal spaces of the site and centre ensure that guests enjoy an immersive journey during their visit. The visitor experience allows them to move through the historical site and the centre independently without the need to rely on a guide. 

With the introduction of a visitor centre, the Sir Bani Yas Church and Monastery site will serve as a definitive source of the island’s natural and cultural history.

Did You Know ?

Sir Bani Yas Island got its name from the Bani Yas tribe who first inhabited Abu Dhabi.


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