Top 10 Things to do in Fujairah

by Travelbag on 01 July 2015, 18:07PM

Fujairah is one of the seven United Arab Emirates and it is situated on the eastern side of the UAE peninsula. Unlike its neighbours, Fujairah is a mountainous Emirate, with its coastline dramatically levelling out into beautiful sandy beaches. These golden sands are met by the warm waters of the Gulf of Oman, which are perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling.

The city of Fujairah is modern and industrious, although it is much more laid-back than Dubai. Despite being home to a maze of high-rise buildings, Fujairah city has several historic monuments, which have been carefully restored and are maintained to a high standard. These monuments are some of the most popular attractions in the Emirate, along with the city’s huge modern mosque and natural features such as the beaches and mountains. Here we will explore the top ten things to do in Fujairah.

Al Bidyah – the oldest Mosque in the UAE

The Al Bidyah Mosque can be found to the north of Fujairah city. Once surrounded by a town of the same name, excavations around Al Bidyah have proved that the area has been inhabited for around four thousand years. The mosque is the oldest in the UAE, and its construction is considered very advanced for its age. Built using mud-brick, the main prayer hall is decorated with arches and a central column divides the space into four areas, each with a domed ceiling. The site of the Al Bidyah Mosque is of considerable archaeological interest. Investigation of a nearby graveyard led to the discovery of a large tomb that has been dated to the Iron Age, with many ancient artefacts contained within it.

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Hayl Castle – Spectacular Sunset Views

Constructed approximately two hundred and fifty years ago, the Al Hayl Castle is positioned in a dramatic setting among the rocky peaks of the Hajar Mountains. The fort is easy to get to by car and is about thirteen kilometres to the south-west of Fujairah city. Once the base for Fujairah’s ruling family, part of the castle has been rebuilt while the rest is in ruins. There is generally a guide on hand who can provide a tour of the site if required and if not, there is a sign with further information about the fort’s history. Refreshments are unavailable at the site, so remember to bring your own food and drinks. To experience the castle at its scenic best visit at sunrise or sunset.

Fujairah Historic Fort – the Oldest Fort in the UAE

The Fujairah Historic Fort was built in 1670 and is thought to be the oldest fort in the UAE. As with Al Hayl Castle, it was once home to the city’s ruling family, as well as being a defensive base. The only stone building on Fujairah’s coast for hundreds of years, the fort has two round towers and one square tower and has been fully restored. Be aware that the stairs within the towers are steep and do not have handrails, however, the wonderful views make the effort more than worth the gruelling climb to the top. Fujairah Historic Fort is situated close to Heritage Village and Madhab Park.

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Sheikh Zayed Mosque – a Spectacle of Architecture

The breath-taking Sheikh Zayed Mosque was completed only a few years ago and it is the size of three football pitches. Finished in white marble and granite, this new landmark of Fujairah has become the second biggest mosque in the UAE. Sheikh Zayed Mosque boasts sixty-five domes and six minarets that each tower a hundred metres high. The building comprises a main prayer hall, a huge courtyard, a basement prayer area for women and a religious school. The mosque can accommodate around thirty thousand worshippers. While non-Muslim worshippers are not permitted to enter, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is of such unique and extensive design that exploring the exterior alone is an enjoyable excursion.

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Wadi Wurayah National Park – a Haven for Wildlife

Fujairah isn’t just about its fabulous buildings simply due to the Wadi Wurayah National Park. It is the perfect place to explore the local flora and fauna. The protected site extends across more than one hundred square kilometres and is easily accessed from the coastal town of Khor Fakkan. Wadi Wurayah is home to twelve species of mammal and seventy-five bird species, many of which are rare or endangered. For example, the national park is one of only three strongholds of the Arabian tahr, an animal similar in appearance to a mountain goat. Other species of interest include mountain gazelle, caracal, which looks like a lynx, Blandford’s fox and numerous types of dragonfly. The stunning scenery of Wadi Wurayah has sadly been spoilt in places by graffiti, but a programme has been put in place to clean up and maintain affected areas.

Fujairah Museum – Historic Exhibits, Displays and Demonstrations

With the Emirate having such a long history, it is well worth paying a visit to the Fujairah Museum. There are numerous fascinating artefacts to see, many of which originate from archaeological digs at Al Bithnah and Qidfa. One of the most interesting pieces is a bowl made from an ostrich egg that is over two thousand years old. The museum also has many displays and provides demonstrations of traditional Emirati activities. Visitors can try on examples of local dress and gain insight into Arabian culture. The museum has a very modest entrance fee and is situated within close distance of the Fujairah Historic Fort. Opening times are normally until half past six, so avoid the crowds by visiting later in the day.

Heritage Village and Madhab Park – Various Outdoor Activities in One Place

On the outskirts of Fujairah city, not far from Fujairah Historic Fort, visitors can find the Heritage Village and Madhab Park. The Heritage Village has a number of restored houses and exhibits to peruse, and its outdoor theatre is often used as a venue for traditional performances of singing and dancing. Madhab Park, also known as Ain Al Madhab Gardens, has lush greenery and swimming pools. Warm sulphuric water from the nearby mineral springs fills the pools, with one designated for men and one for women.

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Scuba Diving and Snorkelling – Explore Undisturbed Reefs

The Gulf of Oman is the perfect place to indulge in some underwater exploration. Fujairah’s coastline offers some spectacular scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities. The UAE’s east coast is renowned for its untouched reefs and varied seascape. However, it is the presence of the elusive whale shark that has put Fujairah firmly on the diving map. Locally known as “al djer”, these gentle giants flock to the area and, if spotted, are the highlight of any underwater expedition.

Beaches – Sunbathe and Swim

Fujairah is the only one of the seven Emirates that does not have its shoreline along the Arabian Gulf. Many of Fujairah’s golden-sand beaches have a backdrop of mountains, making for a scenic retreat for sunbathers and swimmers. The main beaches are well equipped with facilities like sunshades, loungers, cafés and restaurants.

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Bithnah Fort – Defence Post in an Oasis

Situated to the north-east of Fujairah city along one of the main highways, Bithnah Fort can be found in the oasis town of Al Bithnah. Constructed in 1735, the fort was a major defence post of the UAE eastern region. The fort was significant because it overlooked strategic routes that passed through the Hajar Mountains. Completely renovated, a guide can provide a tour of the small fort if desired. Head a couple of hundred metres south of the town along the gravel road to enjoy great views of Bithnah Fort and the surrounding oasis.
 


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