For long, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) remained in the shadows of its more famous siblings Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, but is finally coming into its own
We found this tiny Emirate, one of the seven that make up United Arab Emirates (UAE), over-run with tourists and sighted luxury accommodation options, posh restaurants and malls at almost every corner.
Surrounded by the Hajar Mountains, RAK is the UAE’s northernmost Emirate and next-door to Oman. There is a reason or should we say several reasons for the tourist rush to this Emirate. It is loved by outdoor enthusiasts because of the large, clean, beaches, rugged mountains and vast sand-dunes.
Shoppers have a great deal to look forward to given the spread of malls, souks and roadside stalls offering Western branded goods and plenty of merchandise typical of the region. This means dates of all kinds and delicacies made of them; baklava, perfumes, gold jewellery, richly embroidered textiles and shawls, carpets, hookahs and varieties of exquisite handicrafts the Arab culture is famed for.
Aside from its historical importance, the Dhayah Fort is more of a viewpoint thing and there is not much to explore once you get up there. The Bay of Dhayah has seen settlements since the 3rd millennium BC, and the hill has been used for settlement and fortification since prehistoric times, we were informed. An important milestone in its history is the 1819 defence when the Dhayah Fort played an important part in the resistance during the British attacks against the Ras Al Khaimah tribes.
The Ras Al Khaimah National Museum’s various galleries give visitors an idea of the history and culture of the emirate over the centuries. There was plenty of archaeological and ethnographic material on display including some delightful contemporary art by children. And one incredible display is four centuries old dates! Yes, apparently, they can survive this long! After driving past the white, multi-domed Sheikh Zayed Mosque on our visits around town, we finally visited its exterior area (entry is restricted). The mosque overlooks a popular hangout for locals—the Al Qawasim Corniche, a paved promenade with benches, kiosks and eateries which front the picturesque creek.
By: Aruna Chandaraju