Robin's Website

Fujairah and The Gulf of Oman

Our visit to the United Arab Emirates included a one night stay in the port and beach resort of Al Fujairah, the main city of the Emirate of the same name. We arrived late and it rained. Fujairah is the only Emirate of the seven that has a coastline solely on the Gulf of Oman and none on the Persian Gulf. It is also the only Emirate of the UAE that is almost totally mountainous.
From Al Fujairah, we headed along the coast northwards, stopping off on the way to look at some of the beach resorts. Driving 4WD vehicles on the beaches seemed to be a popular leisure activity amongst the locals. Along the way, we took a small detour to explore the Omani enclave of Madha (see Madha page here).
The most notable stop made in Fujairah Emirate itself in my mind though was the Al Badiyah Mosque and two watchtowers overlooking it. Located about 35 km north of Al Fujairah, Al Badiyah Mosque is the oldest known mosque in the United Arab Emirates. It is known for its distinctive architectural structure. It was constructed without any timber to hold the roof onto the middle column. The roof has four squat, helical domes that are supported by the central column that also forms the ceiling. It is not sure when the mosque was constructed because the mud and stone built structure uses no wood for radiocarbon dating. However, charcoal extracts from archaeological work analysed by the University of Sydney in 1997-98 suggest the mosque was built in 1446 A.D., along with the two watch towers overlooking it. The mosque was renovated and opened to tourists in 2003.
Our journey led us up to Dibba on the border of Oman on the Musandam peninsula, and then in a southwesterly direction back to Dubai. The rain followed us all the way to Dubai and in fact had made the local news headlines. A bit like snowstorms being in the headlines in Britain I guess. It is worth noting here that on the way back to Dubai from the Fujairah Emirate, the rain made the desert sand turn a distinctive dark brown. Coupled with the fact that we passed some heavily industrialised areas of large cement works, it gave the landscape an almost dystopian feel to it. A far cry from the utopian ambience of modern Dubai.