RAK Road Trip

Ras Al Khaimah Travel Blog

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On another trip to RAK I decided to explore a bit further on a day off and find out a bit more about Ras al Khaimah. The most northerly of the seven Emirates that make up the UAE. It borders the Mussandam Peninsular which is territory of Oman. With a population of around 300,000 it has in the past been a bit of a poor relation compared with Abu Dhabi,Dubai and even Sharjah.

Ras Al Khaimah has been the site of human habitation for several millennia and there are many historical and archaeological sites throughout the emirate dating from different time periods, including remnants of the Umm Al Nar Civilisation (3rd Millennium BC).

The city was historically known as Julfar. Archaeological evidence has demonstrated that the settlement known as Julfar shifted location over time as harbour channels silted up.

Excavations of a sizable tell, which revealed remnants of a Sassanid Era fortification indicate that early Julfar was located in the Shamal area, not far from other sites of historical/archaeological interest such as Sheba's Palace and the largest Umm Al Nar tombs found on the Arabian Peninsula. Sources say that Julfar was inhabited by the Azd. During the eighth and ninth centuries AD, and that the houses of the Azd were built of wood.

In the early 19th century a British naval force attacked and occupied Ras al Khaimah to put a stop to the powerful hold of the maritime powerful Quwasem tribe. The Quwasem served as a threat to the British imperialism, and endangered the ships in the Indian Ocean.

After British occupation (18 December 1819 - July 1821), Sheikh Sultan bin Saqr al-Qasimi signed in 1822 the General Maritime Treaty with Britain, accepting a protectorate to keep the Ottoman Turks out.

Like Ajman, Dubai, Umm al-Qaiwain and Sharjah, its position on the route to India made it important enough to be recognized as a British Protectorate along with the rest of the Trucial States.

On 11 February 1972, Ras Al Khaimah, under the leadership of Sheikh Saqr bin Muhammad al-Qasimi, joined the United Arab Emirates.

To reach RAK nowadays takes only 45 mins (traffic permitting) along the new Emirates highway.Passing through Sharjah which can be a major bottleneck at peak times especially around the infamous National Paints Flyover.

Drag Strip and moto cross venue

After Sharjah we have the small Emirate of Ajman and the ghost towns along the highway which were victims of the economic crisis.Expecting the boom years to continue investors began to build appartment blocks and villas and offer them at cheaper prices than in Dubai expecting a rush of commuters. Very little progress has occured in the last 2 years and the developements now stand as monuments to greed and folly.

After Ajman we bypass the emirate of Um al Quwain which is probably just as well as it is a one horse sort of town with not a great deal to recommend it apart from the Barracuda resort for cheap beer and Aqualand water park.

Entering the Emirate of Ras al Khaimah along the old beach road we pass the Al Hamra Fort Hotel which is where my appartment is being built. The project has been delayd but is now approaching completion I'm glad to say.

Aqualand water park
Carryin on along the beach road we pass the Emirates newest tourist attraction the Ice Land water park which opened last summer. I've yet to visit but have heard good things. Heading into town is like visiting Dubai 25 years ago before the boom. Everything seems smaller and slower paced and none the worse for it. We head for the museum which is undergoing rennovation.The outside is done and the exhibits are next for a makeover.The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah is housed in the former palace of the ruling Al Qawasim family, it has exhibits on natural history, arts and crafts.

Ras al-Khaimah is not a major oil producer, so it has focussed on developing its industrial sector. It opened the UAE's first cement company in the early 1970s and is now the UAE's largest producer of cement. In the 1980s, the emirate formed Ras al-Khaimah Ceramics, which has become the world's largest ceramics producer, and Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries (Julphar), the Persian Gulf region's first pharmaceuticals company. It is trying to emerge as an investment destination through the govt owned investment company.

 

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Drag Strip and moto cross venue
Drag Strip and moto cross venue
Aqualand water park
Aqualand water park
RAK decorated roundabouts
RAK decorated roundabouts
The Museum
The Museum
Locally made fishing boats
Locally made fishing boats
Pearl Diving equipment
Pearl Diving equipment
Fossils
Fossils
Ice Land Waterpark
Ice Land Waterpark
Royal Breeze apts
Royal Breeze apts
The beer shop
The beer shop
Al Marjan Island
Al Marjan Island
Hotel Advertising
Hotel Advertising
Ajman ghost town
Ajman ghost town
13,793 km (8,571 miles) traveled
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Ras Al Khaimah
photo by: rachrmn