UAE EAST COAST - PLACES TO VISIT
The East Coast of the United Arab Emirates is a small section lying in between two regions of Oman, the Musandam Peninsula and the region surrounding Muscat. Towns that tourists might know in this area are Dibba, Khor Fakkan with its access to Shark Island, Kalba and Fujairah. Fujeirah is one of the seven emirates being the only one which is not surrounded by deserts but by mountains making it a green village with a lot of farming opportunities. It is easy to book daytrips from Dubai although we recommend making it a multiple day tours because the distance is pretty far. Besides, you haven't seen the UAE without spending some time on its eastern coral reefs and brilliant beach islands.
The Hajjar Mountains separate Fujairah from the rest of the country. The mountain range got its name from the Arabic word meaning “stone mountains. The road is very picturesque and you will see deep wadis (canyons) and huge rocks. Usually excursion buses make stops at the deep canyon which provides brilliant views at the mountain area.
Fujairah Museum boasts archaeological exhibits discovered during numerous excavations all over the emirate, with most finds in the last 15 years. The history period covered by the exhibits extend from sixth millennium B.C. to the end of the Islamic rule and beyond.
Other exhibits showcase the traditional and cultural heritage of the local inhabitants of the East Coast over the last century. Perhaps, the most unique exhibit of the Fujairah Museum is an Ostrich egg dated at 2,500 years B.C. Other artifacts, such as spear heads, pottery and jewellery are also on display, recovered from a number of discovered sites such as the U-shaped tomb at Qidfa and the Bithna Temple.
The Fujairah Museum is located south of the Fort, opposite the Ruler's Palace. Local and foreign archeologists have uncovered items dating back to early Bronze Age, over 4,500 years ago. Exhibits at the Fujairah Museum include pieces made of bronze, steel, brass, silver and gold. Bronze and Iron Age weapons, painted pottery, carved soapstone vessels and pre-Islamic silver coins. The latest addition to the displays is Herbs and Folkloric Medicine.
Fujairah Fort, built in 1670, was badly damaged in the early 20-th century. Considered the oldest fort in the UAE, it has served as a defensive building and a home for the ruling family. The Fujairah Fort is a mud brick structure with three major sections, several halls, one square tower and two round towers. The fort has been renovated and restored to its former glory. For many centuries it was the only stone building along the Fujairah coast. Located on a hill at the edge of date gardens.
One of the milestones in the building's history was a two-year occupation by Wahabbists, from 1808 to 1810. They took possession of the fort, as well as others along the Eastern Coast, until local tribes won it back. The British bombarded the fort in 1925 during a confrontation wit the Ruler of Fujairah and the towers facing the sea were severely damaged. It was the last time when British gunboats opened fire in the Gulf of Oman.
Al Bithnah Fort
The Bithna Fort is near Fujairah on the main highway. The Bithna Fort once stood watch over the strategic route across the Hajar Mountains through Wadi Ham. Built in 1735, Bithna Fort was considered on the most important fortresses in the eastern part of the United Arab Emirates. Small parts of the wall are still standing showing the intricate decorative designs of the majlis walls.
The Heritage Village in Fujairah presents the traditional way of life for residents of the Emirates. Traditional houses, cooking utensils, farming tools and the Al Yazrah irrigation system, used for irrigating fields with a working bull are displayed. Heritage Village contains the Fujairah fortress and other ancient buildings, which were used by the Ruler's family. The Department of Archeology and Heritage in Fujairah has renovated the fortress, constructed a wall of mud around the area and built a theatre that can accommodate more than 3,000 spectators.
The village was built in the Mudhab tourist area at the beginning of 1996, covering an area of 6000 square meters. The visitor to the village would see the past replicated vividly before his yes with all its features and intricate details, demonstrating their way of life, their homes, tools and equipment to show how inhabitants of this area lived in the past before the new riches and the resultant modern and luxurious living style of today.
Bull fighting began in Portugal between the 16-th and 17-th centuries. The Portuguese who colonized the area brought the sport to the United Arab Emirates.
In Fujairah, bull butting is a family event. Every Friday, local families and tourists gather at an open field to watch the bulls' battle it out. The day begins with 20 bulls and winners move on the next round. The prize for the winner is to have his value increased. After many hundreds of years in an open area the bull butting contests will take place behind a fence. Even though the bulls are tied up and handled by attendants, they sometimes take to charging spectators - especially those in red.
Al Bidyah Mosque
Al Bidyah Mosque is the oldest in the United Arab Emirates. The engineering features are a major accomplishment for the period of construction. The mosque was named for the historical town that embraced it for so many centuries. It is also known as the Ottoman Mosque, for the man who built it.
Al Bidyah Mosque, north of Fujairah, consists of a prayer hall with a prayer niche or Mihrab, pulpit, arches and openings. A central pillar divides the internal space in to four squares of similar dimensions. The pillar supports all four domes that can bee seen from the exterior. The internal decoration of the mosque combines stone carvings, openings for ventilation and light with special shelves to house the Holy Quran.
Dibba Al Fujairah
Dibba Al Fujairah is the largest town in the Northern part of the Emirate and the upper part of the Gulf of Oman. The town lies on a coastal plain, nestled in the mountains, in the midst of green fields and ancient relics.
There is a road linking Dibba with Fujairah, which runs parallel to the Gulf. On the side of the road lie coastal villages such as Dhidana, Bidiya, Merbah and Sharam. On the other side Dibba is connected with Masafi by a road up to Fujairah-Masafi highway, which also links with the Fujairah-Dhaid-Sharjah dual carriageway. Dibba is reputed of its relics and historical places, including tombs and implements dating back to the 7th millennium B.C. Archaeological finds have revealed that the area was inhabited by man since the Stone Age. In the 3rd millennium B.C. Dibba was a commercial centre frequented by the Phoenicians, masters of the sea at that era.
South of the village of Kalba is Khor Kalba, set in a beautiful tidal estuary ( khor is the Arabic word for creek).
This is the most northerly mangrove forest in the world, the oldest in Arabia and home to a variety of plant, marine and birdlife not found anywhere else in the UAE. The mangroves flourish in this area thanks to a mix of saltwater from the sea and freshwater from the mountains, but worryingly they are receding due to the excessive use of water from inland wells. For birdwatchers, the area is especially good during the spring and autumn migrations when special species of bird include the reef heron and the booted warbler.
The name Khor Fakkan translates to ‘Creek of the Two Jaws’ reflecting its setting in a splendid bay flanked on either side by two headlands. This is Sharjah’s largest town on the east coast located midway between Dibba Al Hisn and Fujairah, with the focal point of the economy centered on the expanding container terminal and port. A long stretch of sandy beach backed by a promenade runs alongside the bay and is a pleasant place to wander.
Wadi Wurrayah is a popular natural beauty site located some 15 kilometres inland from Khor Fakkan. Accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle, the wadi offers a deep all year round pool with a seasonal waterfall.
Masafi is a village located on the edge of the Hajar Mountains in Fujairah. It developed along the old unpaved road which ran from Fujairah to Dubai via Sharjah. The village is actually divided in to two parts with the larger section belonging to the emirate of Fujairah and the smaller belonging to the emirate of Ras al Khaimah.
The name "Masafi" is Arabic for "pure water". The village is well known for its natural springs. In fact Masafi is also the name of the Gulf's leading natural mineral water producer, which is located near the village.
Masafi is famous for its Friday Market - A market, called the Masafi Friday Market or Souq al Juma, as it is known locally, even though it is open seven days a week, is found on the Dubai-Fujairah road as you approach Masafi. The main items to bargain for are rugs, earthenware, antiques and souvenirs. This is a great place to buy carpets, mats, etc.
More resources about UAE East Coast
East Coast of UAE
Masafi Friday Market