Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi has taken a broad initiative to increase tourism to Ras Al Khaimah. One of the primary draws for international visitors to the United Arab Emirates is undoubtedly a rich history and culture shared by all of the Emirates.
Some of the destinations on this list are primarily historical sites, meant to awe the imagination and inspire with stories of ancient peoples. Others are truly attractions that will make a stay in Ras Al Khaimah pleasant and memorable. Peruse at your own risk — you might get the urge to pack your things and take a trip here immediately!
Jazeera Al Hamra
Jazeera al-Hamra used to be a village of pearl hunters and fishermen. Before the region’s economy was dominated by oil trade and big business, this village prospered. It was during the early and mid 20th centuries that the inhabitants lived here, and the place has remained virtually unchanged ever since.
Although the town is thought to be haunted by locals and former dwellers, they still gather here once a year to celebrate their heritage. Among the abandoned mosques, schools, and houses about 1,500 people gather every year under tents and flagpoles. According to The National, people “prepare family recipes for the party” and “women get out their gold” for the gathering.
Jazeera Al-Hamra was once an island, during the days of the pearl hunters and traders. Now it has become part of the mainland. Its landside shores were filled in and it now rests between modern day landmarks such as a water park and a golf course.
This hilltop fortress was the site of the last battle between British troops and local tribes in 1819. A couple of cannon shots forced the surrender of the local fighters, and the fort has been reconstructed with easier access since then. Locals and international tourists alike call this place a must see in Ras al-Khaimah.
Once the climb to the summit has been made, the most striking view confronts visitors. Mountains stretch into the distance, and the fort itself is a sight to see. In the valley, trees dot the landscape, which is windblown and wavy.
The town of Khatt rests in an oasis twenty minutes outside of the capital city, Ras al-Khaimah. Within the small settlement are widely known hot pools that are rich in minerals. A dip in the pools is purported to be extremely soothing, even without the breathtaking scenery.
Tourists to Khatt who seek to soak in the natural hot springs will find the amenities of the Khatt Hot Springs Resort to be luxurious and the staff ameable. The resort is full-service, and includes dining halls and a peaceful garden. The pools themselves are accompanied by rest houses, and are split into two sections for men and women.
The head of the Parks Section for the Ras Al Khaimah municipality, Ahmed Ismael says, “Visitors to the Khatt Hot Springs should never stay in the water for more than five minutes continuously because the arteries and veins will become lax and cause blood pressure to drop.” He goes on to say, “If a person stays in the water for more than five minutes, he may feel dizzy because of the drop in blood pressure, and this is quite dangerous if the person remains in the water.”
His advice is for the good of the people using the hot springs, as they reach a depth of 90 feet, making them dangerous for poor swimmers or people suffering an illness. He adds that the process can be repeated many times so that you can be in the water for over twenty minutes total.
If you enjoy history, Shimal is the place for you. Ancient sites dating to the early Bronze Age have been uncovered at this small village. Archaeologists and researchers have dated the sites to the Umm al-Nar culture who traded with Mesopotamia across the Persian Gulf. This is the largest site uncovered in Ras al-Khaimah of a pre-Islamic culture.
The skeletons of 66 individuals were uncovered in a tomb here, as well as pottery, shells, and animal bones. The tomb itself has been dated to 3,500 to 3,800 years old, and was built on top of an even older tomb that isn’t visible from the surface. This is the first place that greets a traveller coming to the Shimal archaeological park, and the oval structure is hard to miss.
Near the ancient tombs and archaeological park there sits the Sheba Palace. Dr. Hamad bin Seray, an associate professor at UAE University, says about the palace, “So many legends and stories are associated with this palace, with some people saying it is thousands of years old and others saying it is just a few hundreds years old.”