The area of the assignment “Mezyad Desert Park” corresponds to the area of Jabel Hafit Desert Park, which is the component 1.1 of the World Heritage Sites of Al Ain, inscribed in the UNESCO WHL since 2011. The site area measures about 4.000 ha.
The objective of the assignment is to review and validate the existing information and prepare a revised Master Plan for the Mezyad Desert Park in Al Ain, through the protection, conservation, interpretation and presentation of the archaeology and desert landscape.
The restoration of the natural landscape should be considered though natural means. The concept of a natural desert park must respect the historic landscape i.e. it recognises all previous human interventions that have marked the landscape.
The Mezyad desert park encapsulates a whole series of historical layers ranging from the geology and fossils showing the cretaceous period; the emergence of stone age societies with Neolithic encampments represented by flint scatters; to the early Bronze age tombs and the Late Islamic fort. Such historic layers also include the more recent human interventions such as the evidence of seismic surveys carried out for oil exploration. Landscape archaeology should appreciate the impact of all previous human activities on the site in order to be able to have a comprehensive reading and understanding of the overall landscape.
Preference should be given to avoid major landscaping or use of heavy machinery, as this is likely to cause more damage than provide any benefit. Furthermore, it is envisaged that the boundaries of the park will be secured by appropriate fencing, followed by the removal of grazing activities and illegal occupants to allow natural regeneration.
As part of the interpretation and presentation of the site, viewing platforms and potentially small food and beverage elements could be considered along the visitor routes / trails at strategically located points.
An appropriate sized visitor center, reflecting the functional and spatial requirements developed as part of the park management plan, business plan and visitor experience, should be included. One option should consider restoring the existing Mezyad Desert Fort to perform this function, making it part of and integrating it into the visitor experience.
Stage 1 – Gap Assessment
Stage 2 – Master Plan
Gathering additional site information, surveys and mapping
Site Management Plan
Concept design options
Stage 3 – Implementation Plan
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