Fujairah – The mountainous eastern border emirate
Fujairah’s position in the UAE is a unique one, as it is the only emirate that lies on the eastern side of the UAE, along the Gulf of Oman – this emirate is the only one with a coastline solely on the Gulf of Oman, and none on the Persian Gulf. The name itself is derived from a spring of water that is located beneath one of the mountains that are a part of the Hajar range. The emirate is popular for its crystalline beaches and many resorts scattered along the coast, making it the perfect holiday destination for tourists looking to explore the rest of the UAE, and for residents who wish to get a break from the hubbub of city life. The emirate’s unique location also offers free access to major shipping routes, making it a comfortable port for entrepreneurs and businessmen around the world.
The Emirate today
Fujairah has greatly progressed from its small beginnings (see history), back in the early 19th century. Thanks to the conveniences of modern day technology and the emirate’s unique location on the Gulf of Oman, the emirate is able to play a key role in being one of the world’s top oil-bunkering ports, and Fujairah is an excellent spot for entrepreneurs and businessmen to grow and diversify their organisations.
Places to visit in Fujairah
The Hajar mountains offer a wide range of activities for more adventurous visitors to the emirate, and the trek up to the mountains is certainly worth the breath-taking view from the top. As the mountain range separates the western coast of the UAE, this emirate is the perfect spot to explore the base of the mountain and its rocky terrain. This area is also well known for its wadis (dry riverbeds, or any valley oasis), and wadi-bashing (hiking or driving through the wadis) is a fun activity for residents and tourists alike.
Wadi Ham & Wadi Al Taiwan
There are a number of wadis in the area, with Wadi Ham being the longest valley, and Wadi Al Taiwan is worth the visit as the drive takes you through a stunning mountainous route. The mountain range also offers a number of activities for those looking to get their heart pounding; from treks through the range to hikes up the mountain peaks, it is definitely worth spending a weekend in the mountains to soak it all in. Photographers, too, will really enjoy a trip up the mountains, as the views of the emirate and of the sea below are absolutely stunning.
There are a number of fortifications around the emirate as well, built in the early 16th and 17th centuries. The Fujairah Fort was first built in 1670, and was badly damaged by a British attack in the early 20th century. The fort served two purposes – as a defensive building, and as a home for the ruling family. The fort has three major sections, one square tower, two round towers, and several halls. Thanks to restoration projects done by the government, the tower has been fully restored and is open for the public to visit. The area around the fort is also part of a heritage village, set up by the emirate’s Department of Archaeology and Heritage. The village contains restored houses, exhibits that explain traditional Emirati life, and a display of the irrigation system that older Emirati farmers would use in their fields.
Another fort that’s farther from the city is the Bithna Fort, that stood watch over strategic routes that crossed the Hajar mountain range. Built in 1735, the fort was of vital importance to the emirate’s defence in the east. Located about 13 kilometres away from the main city, the visit is worth the drive as the views from the ramparts, of palm groves and the mountains are a must-see.
Another fortification tower worth visiting is the Al-Hayl castle, which was once used as the headquarters for Fujairah’s ruling family. Built over 250 years ago, the castle also played an important role in defence, and was used as a base for surveillance, and to protect the emirate from attack. Unfortunately, not much remains of the castle except one tower, reminding visitors of the days when forts like these were scattered along the coast to protect the UAE from warfare.
South of the Fujairah Fort lies the Fujairah Museum, which houses a number of artefacts that date from the early Bronze Age, that have been unearthed and discovered during archaeological digs in an around the emirate. Exhibits include ancient weapons, painted pottery, and pre-Islamic silver coins. A prized artefact is a bowl made from an ostrich egg that is over 2,000 years old. The museum also has many displays of traditional Emirati life and craft work from older periods.
Outside the main city, at the foot of the mountains lies a popular local retreat. The Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs is a perfect place to visit, as the mineral springs produce warm sulphuric water that is then pumped into swimming pools. The resort is very family-friendly, and is the perfect spot to get some much needed downtime, allowing you to rest and relax in the warm, mineral-rich waters.
Masafi, a village located about 33 kilometres from the main city, near the edge of the mountain range. Originally built as a trading post and refuelling stop, the village sits on the border between two emirates (Fujairah and Ras al Khaimah). The village is famous for its natural springs, and the leading mineral water producer in the country (named after the village) is also nearby. The village is also quite popular for its market in carpets, antiques, and local handicrafts, among other native goods.
Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque – Fujairah
Fans of architecture can visit the Grand Mosque in Fujairah, which is as big as three football pitches, and has six towering minarets. The mosque has space for over 32,000 worshipers, and is considered to be a major landmark in the emirate. The mosque is also the second largest mosque in the UAE, after the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, the mosque is not open for non-Muslims, but the lovely white façade of the mosque itself makes it worth the visit.
Fans of the sun, the sand, and the clear blue sky would enjoy a lovely weekend at the many resorts scattered across Fujairah’s beaches. The sparkling coastline and stunning beaches make it the perfect spot for a whole slew of water sports and water activities, from scuba diving, to jet skiing, to parasailing, to just enjoying a dip in the sea. The resorts in Fujairah also have equipment for many water activities, and a relaxing stay in a luxurious resort with a beach-side view is the ultimate recipe for a chill, stress-free weekend.
Al Aqah Beach
Looking to go on a drive? Al Aqah beach, about 45 kilometres from the city, is the best place for scuba diving and snorkelling, and is a must-visit for underwater enthusiasts. There is a rocky outcrop, known as “Snoopy Island”, offshore, and guests can swim up to this tiny island, and enjoy a calm day under the sun. Removed from the city, this spot is also the perfect place to take a break and bask in the warm sun; this small strip truly offers an activity for everyone.
The emirate is culturally rich, hospitable, and easy to access from the airports in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi. A weekend in Fujairah can involve mountain hikes, visits to cultural hotspots, a dip in some mineral-rich waters, topped off by a warm sunbath and a brisk swim in the sea. Those looking to explore the UAE should ensure a trip out to this eastern-most emirate.
While you’re around, you can also visit Madha, a part of Oman that is uniquely bordered within the UAE and has an interesting story to it.
This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. We take no liability for the accuracy of the information and cannot be held liable for any third-party claims or losses of any damages.
This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. We take no liability for the accuracy of the information and cannot be held liable for any third-party claims or losses of any damages.Disclaimer
Discover the hidden niches of the world through the lens of a content curator. Monthly once. No BS.Join the List