Fujeirah: Old meets new

Imagine driving through a mountain. Oh, rather do not waste time exercising your mind. Do the real thing. If you live in the Emirates, it is but easily done and if you do not, well, this particular pleasurable activity is worth a try, while on a visit here. Driving through a mountain comes with attractive offers_ like the sight of the blue seas on one side, vast expanses of dry, rocky, jagged mountains on the other, Friday markets springing out of the mountain’s belly, cool breeze, and fresh fruits for your picking…

At the end of this very eye-satisfying scenery, you have reached Fujairah, perhaps the most beautiful of all the seven emirates.

For someone who has grown up on sky scrapers and swanky malls, Fujairah would come as a surprise. Well, for someone who grew up on sights and sounds such as this emirate offers, it is like being at home. Here life moves along at the same unhurried pace of the waves crashing against the miles of shoreline.

Now you have reached the main city. It is more of a one-horse town (pardon the expression, but the Hajar Mountains bring back the memories of the Wild West complete with horses and cowboys). The beauty of the place is in the ‘decorated roundabouts’ at strategic locations all over. Concrete sheep, urns, cups and pots of gigantic proportions stare down from lofty heights making this town appear like a cross between the mythical Arabian Desert town and fledgling marking the course of its first flight. Unlike its neighbor Dubai, residents of Fujairah dress down to suit their culture and it is amazing to see Arabia in its true form. Well, that is what you have come to see in the first place.

Town of Fujeirah

Town of Fujeirah

Decorative roundabouts

Decorative roundabouts

A walk down the Corniche is enough to restore one’s faith in the Almighty. Far out in the Gulf of Oman huge ships sail as though in a straight line and close at hand, the vivid blue sea washes up to the sandy shores as though snuggling up on a cold night. Swimming here is a delight. If you find your way away from the main town and head in the direction of Khor Fakkan, the sea is friendlier. In places the jagged mountains reach down curtsying to the shimmering expanse of brine at the same time trying to enfold it in a passionate embrace. The roads snake around the hills offering many vantage points to witness nature unfold itself before an appreciative eye.

On the Corniche...enjoying a kebab

On the Corniche...enjoying a kebab

Its clean beaches, the numerous water sports like swimming, yachting, water surfing and deep sea fishing attract tourists all round the year. It attracts a lot of tourists looking for a quick getaway from the bustling cities nearby.

Some facts:

Fujairah is the only emirate that borders the east coast of UAE, overlooking the Gulf of Oman. Within its territory there are some coastal enclaves belonging to Sharjah (Khor Fakkan, Kalba and part of Dibba) and some landlocked enclaves belonging to Oman (Madhab and part of Dibba). Fujairah’s dramatic mountain scenery has been a major factor in its fast developing tourism.

The pleasant beaches, good diving and snorkeling sites, easy access to stunning mountain spots, such as Wadi Wurriyah’s waterfall as well as the unspoiled local ambience (bloodless bullfights!) combine to make it a vacationer’s paradise.

Fujairah’s port, built in 1982 is now the world’s third largest tanker refueling and bunkering station. Over 40 giant tankers pass through the port daily!

The Fujairah port is an important port for container liners and for the world’s largest livestock shipping companies that have set up their main holding station for sheep and cattle for the entire Arabian Peninsula here.

In Fujairah

Fujairah Fort

This reputedly 360-year-old fort lies on a hill at the edge of the date gardens, surrounded by the remains of the old town houses.

Fujairah Heritage Village

Near Fujairah Fort, this has a good selection of traditional arish (houses) and shasha (fishing boats) made from palm fronds, providing an interesting backdrop to its living reconstruction of traditional life on the East Coast.

Fujairah Museum

Situated just south of the fort and opposite the Ruler’s Palace, Fujairah Museum is a small modern building, where many of the artifacts found in archaeological digs at Qidfa, Bithnah and other places are on display.


Bullfighting

On weekends in winter, watch out for the famous Fujairah bullfights – a bloodless sport in which two bulls test their strength against one another.

Around Fujairah

Dibba, Sharm, Bidya, Wadi Wurrayah, Husn Madhab, Wadi Maidaq, Kalba, Khor Kalba, Awhala, Hayl, Wadi Farfar, Bithna, although not all belonging to the Emirate of Fujairah are all scenic and historic sites in the region of Fujairah city which are well worth a visit

7 Comments

  • Patrick Jones says:

    Was expecting more of Far East but the big leap took us to the Middle East.

    A waterfall in the desert! Man-made?

  • anjaly says:

    nope, the waterfalls in the desert are not man made! UAE has plenty of waterfalls, wadis, hot water springs, sweet water bodies etc!! it is a beautiful country…ieven the deserts have their own charm…and it is lovely being here…different seasons bring different things to do… als, it rains here!

  • nandanjha says:

    Indeed a big leap, Anjaly.

    Haven’t seen any of Middle-East except the new global city, Dubai which probably is more world and less Arab.

    One big solace was there we do get Kebabs here :). Though reading about Kebabs, post 5 PM in the evening, with a wanting belly can get you into a tempting situation which is difficult to handle.

    Where to next ?

  • anjaly says:

    I have just come back from Indonesia_ not even two weeks now…well, if you asked me, i would say Papua New Guinea or Mongolia…but as always, i leave my plans to the last minute…so there is no saying where to. There are so many articles of the Middle East on my blog…i do hope you get to read them sometime….

    If yu judge Dubai by a visit to the Global Village, it would put you off…that and the Burj or the Atlantis…I judge UAE by the deserts and the wadi’s and the kahwa and dates and the heritage villages, and the camels running wild…thats how i like to see the Arab world :-)

  • Nandan Jha says:

    I would read them, I did glance through, would read more.

    I dont want to judge Arab by Dubai because if I do. it would do what you mentioned (put me off :) ). I wrote couple of stories on Dubai and probably I didn’t sound too euphoric about Dubai and in return got some flak from my Dubai friends.

    I read ‘In Xanadu’ some months back and thats the Arab or Middle East I would want to visit which William describes there.

    Let more of Emirates come out through your stories. :)

  • Ram Dhall says:

    All I know about the Emirates hovers around Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras-al-Khaimah. Thanks for taking us to the lesser known places like Fujairah through your poetically narrated account of your visit.

    As Nandan has said- would love to know more about this region through your stories.

  • Manish khamesra says:

    Anjaly,

    Its indeed a poetic description of Fujeirah, enough to attract you to that part. As ever why good things (the article) ends so soon :)

    Bull fight! – Fights between two bulls, trying to inflict maximum damages to other, can it be bloodless ? Or in comparison to Spanish Bull fights were the bull is definitely killed they are bloodless as in this case bulls are allowed to live with the wounds. Whether in west or in east, I find them barbaric and detest them. (Of course, none of your fault ;) you have just written what you saw.

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