Fujairah – is the youngest of the Emirates, only becoming independent from Sharjah in 1952. The Emirate of Fujairah is frequently referred to as the bride of the Emirates and the gateway of the Gulf on the Eastern region. It combines the splendors of the present, the heritage and originality of the past and the bright future which augers rewarding prospects. The charming city of Fujairah, stretching along the palm-fringed shores of the Indian Ocean, is one of the most beautiful and picturesque areas of the UAE. With the magnificent Hajar Mountains as a backdrop, its tranquil white sandy beaches and lush vegetation. Fujairah has always been a popular weekend destination within the UAE and increasingly so for European holidaymakers to the Middle East. In recent years, the country’s fourth largest city has experienced unprecedented investment and development to accommodate the growing demands of tourism and increased multi-national corporate presence. Despite the city’s growth, Fujairah has retained its unique beauty, exotic mysticism and rich cultural heritage, which have earned it the enviable reputation as the “Jewel of Arabia”. H.H.Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Supreme Council member and ruler of Fujairah.
The historical importance of Fujairah goes back to the period that preceded birth of the Christ (peace is upon him), it was known in the old ages as land of the sea giants and was the first home for immigrants who came from the southeast of Arabian Peninsula and who were later known as the Phoenicians. Some of those immigrants came from Yemen after the collapse of Ma’areb Dam, and of whom the Sharqis tribes descend.
The population of Fujairah totals 176,825 in 2010 that live in the various towns and villages. The most famous of these towns and villages are Dibba, Merbah, Qidfa, Aqah, Faqeet and Bithna, which are known for its relics and farms.
Unlike the other Emirates, Fujairah enjoys a unique position on the Gulf of Oman, adjacent to the Strait of Hormuz, on the Eastern flank of the Arabian Peninsula. Fujairah coasts extend 90 kms along the Gulf of Oman, which accords a strategic importance to this Emirate. The area of Fujairah is 1,165 square kilometres, thus equivalent to 1.5% of the total area of the UAE, which puts it in the fifth position among the Emirates in terms of size. Fujairah is the only Emirates that are almost totally mountainous. All the other Emirates are largely covered by desert. The wealth of nature and man-made treasures in its various mountains, caves and archaeological sites will show you the rich Arab heritage.
Climate of Fujairah is semi-arid with a wide diurnal range, high level of evaporation and varying degree of humidity. Limited rainfall and humidity varying from month to month. The winter months are mild.
Fujairah has also become a booming tourist destination, thanks to the Emirate’s unspoiled natural beauty, including magnificent sandy beaches, mountains and oases, fascinating historical attractions and archaeological sites and year-round sunshine. Fujairah’s uniqueness lies in the rugged Hajar Mountains and the beautiful unspoiled beaches and coral reefs that attract divers from all over the world. Numerous water sports like swimming, yachting, water surfing and deep-sea fishing attracts tourists all round the year. Fujairah is the land of many historical places. The old fort in Fujairah’s historic town which is approximately 300 years old and the many small wind towers still standing in neighbouring villages as proud reminders of the town’s recent past. However, archaeological nations have shown that man’s presence in the region actually dates back to the Iron Age. In fact, some of the most important archaeological finds in the Arabian Gulf have been made in the area.
There are several tourist attractions in Fujairah. The Fujairah Port is an important port for container liners and houses the main holding station for world’s largest livestock shipping companies. The clean beaches and other water sports, attract tourists throughout the year. Fujairah also portrays the glorious past of the UAE in its several museums that are quite popular and frequented by travellers. Fujairah Fort, the Heritage Village, Ain Al Madhab Gardens, Al Hayl Castle and Bitnah Fort are other major attractions in Fujairah.
Fujairah Fort was built in 1670th; the Fujairah Fort is one of the oldest forts in the UAE. Located along a hill at the edge of date gardens, the Fort has been a defensive building and home for ruling family. The fort, which was badly damaged during the early 20th century, was later renovated and is currently the only stone building along the Fujairah coast. Remains of few old town houses surround it.
Bidya Mosque – is one of the oldest mosque in the world. It is also known as” Ottoman Mosque”, after the name of the man who built it and it is located in North Fujairah. Bidya is well known to visitors because of its unusual and very old, twin-domed mosque, generally considered the oldest mosque in the United Arab Emirates. The Mosque has a prayer hall with a prayer niche, pulpit, arches and openings. A huge central pillar separates the internal space in four squares of similar dimensions, while the pillar supports all four domes seen from the exterior.
Al Hayl Castle
Al Hayl Castle – is about 250 years old in a gorgeous location surrounded by mountains and date palm farms. It is one of the famous castles in Fujairah, and is considered the Headquarters for ruling family and has been used for surveillance, patrolling and to defend the area. The structure is by no means huge, but nice to look at all the same and you can climb through it to explore the whole thing. There is a wind tower on the hill above the caste that you can climb to the top of for some lovely views as well.
Fujairah Heritage Village
Fujairah Heritage Village located in proximity to Ain Al Madhab Gardens; the Fujairah Heritage Village is a living museum depicting the lifestyles of traditional inhabitants of the UAE. There are displays of traditional farming methods, tools, housing, and cooking utensils, depicting the traditional lifestyle of residents. The Heritage Village also includes the Fujairah Fortress and other ancient buildings used by the Ruler’s family.
Ain Al Madhab Gardens
Ain Al Madhab Gardens – located at the foothills of Hajar Mountains, outside the town of Fujairah; the Garden is more than just a mineral spa. These lush gardens are fed with freshwater springs. They also include natural warm pools and an outdoor theatre, used during festivals for traditional singing and folklore dances.
Wadis – (meaning oasis in Arabic) are riverbeds containing water following heavy rain. Fujairah is renowned for its Wadis, given, the geological topography of the area. There are the Wadi Saham, Wadi Siji, Wadi bashing, and several such wadis here. Wadi Ham is the largest and longest from Masafi area. Wadi Al Wurayah is also a major tourist attraction in northern Fujairah. It is the first protected mountain area in the Emirate. The scenic area also includes waterfalls.
Fujairah is famous for its stunning beaches and resorts where the life is intimately connected with the sea. In Fujairah, the old patterns remain the same from fishing, mending nets and tending to the old palm frond canoes called ‘sasha’. These sandy beaches make Fujairah so charming and different from Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
Fujairah’s main occupation in the past was fishing and agriculture. Nowadays, the Port of Fujairah with its strategic position claims the 2nd most important bunkering port in the world with many shipping companies and other related businesses having set up offices there. Port activities include container handling, cargo services, livestock handling, marine supply and repair and bunkering. In fact, Fujairah ranks as one of the top three bunkering locations in the world, along with Singapore and Rotterdam.
Tourism is of great importance to Fujairah as the Emirate is renowned for its scenic beauty and other qualities, which make it a tourist attraction for those seeking entertainment and tranquility. Tourists are attracted by diverse entertainment activities. Some prefer to swim in the warm waters as Fujairah beaches extend for 90 kms along the Gulf, while others choose to visit ancient archaeological sites, which tell the history and glories of the ancestors.
Fujairah is also renowned for its high mountains of multiple colours and deep valleys where watercourses flow throughout the year which represent yet another attraction for tourists. There are marine reserves where a variety of beautiful and rare sea creatures live amongst a jungle of coral reefs — another attraction for tourists interested in the diving sport.
The mineral also attracts tourists and healing waters such as those to be found at the Madhab and Gamour springs. The waters of these springs are claimed by natives to heal from rheumatism and some skin diseases. The Wareea’s waterfalls are is one of the most beautiful mountainous spots in Fujairah.
The attractions of Fujairah are not merely the rugged mountains, the mild weather or the unspoiled beaches but tourists interested in relics may also leisurely have a stroll in area dating thousands of years before Christ. The ruins of old fortresses and mosques at Fujairah, Bithna and Bidiya areas provide enormous clues to the spectacular history of the region.