Baniyas: A quiet and affordable community in UAE
Baniyas is an ideal neighbourhood for many middle income families because of its quietness and affordable homes.
Located towards the south of Abu Dhabi along the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain highway, Baniyas is about 42km away from the heart of the Abu Dhabi city. Surrounded by popular neighbourhoods such as Al Mafraq, Al Wathba, Shakhbout City, Al Shamkha and Mohamed Bin Zayed City, Baniyas is divided into two parts - Baniyas West and Baniyas East.
The urban neighbourhood, populated by Emirati and expat families, comprises of villas and affordable apartments that range from studios to three-bedroom flats.
There are plenty of free parking spaces in the area with residents having allotted parking spots outside their villas and residential buildings.
The area also has many facilities such as hospitals, schools, sports clubs, gyms and retail stores. Baniyas Mall, Lulu Hypermarket and Bawabat Al Sharq Mall are some of the popular shopping centres in the area.
The community also houses Baniyas Sports and Culture Club - a sports complex that also hosts the Baniyas football team. Baniyas Mosque is one among the many beautiful mosques in the area.
The cemetery for non-Muslims in Abu Dhabi is located in Baniyas, making the quiet neighbourhood the final resting place for many expats who are not repatriated back home.
Residents with judicial issues don't have to travel to the city as the Baniyas courts are just in the vicinity. Commuting within the area or to the city centre is easy as public buses and taxis are accessible from all the streets.
Sudanese expat Ahmed Yasin, a long-time resident of the area, said: "I moved to this place with my wife when we got married. We have been living happily here for the past 15 years and all our four children grew up in this area," said Yasin, who works for a private firm in Musaffah area.
He said he likes the area because of its affordability and the peaceful nature that is suitable for families. "There are many playgrounds and public parks in our neighbourhood and my boys go out every evening to play football.
"There are many hypermarkets, grocery stores and restaurants here. Public bus stops throughout the area help those without cars to commute easily all over Abu Dhabi."
The 45-year-old expat said the rent in the area range from Dh28,000 annually for a studio and going up to an annual Dh90,000 for a three-bedroom apartment.
Mohammed Salem, an Emirati resident, said that over the years, Baniyas has developed into a modern community with many expats living there while maintaining the emirate's rich culture and heritage.
"In the 1980s, Baniyas was such a remote community dominated mainly by Emirati families," said Salem. "But over the last two decades, the area witnessed tremendous growth with many expats working in Abu Dhabi city and living in Baniyas."
The 55-year-old Emirati said the Emirati families with elderly people living in Baniyas have helped the community to hold onto the country's morals, culture and tradition.