Emirate of Fujairah, one of the seven emirates forming the United Arab Emirates, witnessed a rapid rate of economic and social development and tourism activities under the wise guidance of H.H.Sheikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Supreme Council member and ruler of Fujairah.
Fujairah, with a breathtaking coastline of more than 90km, is the only emirate situated entirely along the Gulf of Oman. The emirate occupies an area equal to 1.5 per cent of the country’s total landmass.
Fujairah is a place of considerable natural beauty where jagged mountains and valleys sweep down to the settled palm-fringed coastal plain. There are some stunning beaches and good diving locations along the coast, whilst the hinterland features many cultural and historic sites. Agriculture and fishing, two traditional mainstays of the economy, still feature prominently.
Fujairah city, the capital, is not just an attractive town in a stunning setting it is also is a rapidly developing commercial and tourist centre. Its strategic location, which provides easy access to international shipping routes, has played a key role in its development as one of the world’s top oil-bunkering ports. The main business area is along Hamad bin Abdullah Rd, between the Fujairah Trade Centre and the coast.
The historical importance of Fujairah goes back to the period that preceded birth of the Christ, it was known in the old ages as land of the sea giants, and was the first home for immigrants who came from the southeast of Arabian Peninsula and who were later known as the Phoenicians. Some of those immigrants came from Yemen after the collapse of Ma'areb Dam, and of whom the Sharqis tribes descend.
Places to visit
For the historian, Fujairah is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered; the old fort in Fujairah's historic town which is approximately 300 years old and the many small wind towers still standing in neighbouring villages as proud reminders of the town's recent past. However, archaeological actions have shown that man's presence in the region actually dates back to the Iron Age. In fact, some of -the most important archaeological finds in the Arabian Gulf have been made in the area.
Fujairah Fort Situated just 2 km away from the main town. It is a strategically located mud brick structure. A huge castle built in 1670 A.D. which consists of 3 major parts and several halls and towers surrounded by the old Fujairah.
The fort was fully renovated in year 2000.
Al Bidya Mosque
Dates back 400 years and displays a unique feat of engineering for the time. All four domes are supported by one central pillar and internal decoration combines stone carvings with special shelves to house the Holy Quran.
Al Bidya Mosque is located close to Al Bidya village about 30 km North of Fujairah.
Al Heil Castle
At Al Heil village, 8km south-west of Fujairah city.
One of the most famous castles in the Emirate of Fujairah, it used to be headquarters for the ruler and had been used for patrolling, surveillance and to defend neighbouring area.
AL Bithnah Forte
Built in 1735 near Al Bithnah Village 13 km west of Fujairah city, it has guarded the strategic route across the Hajar mountains throught Wadi Ham since the 18th Century, and was considered among the most important forts and castles in eastern part of UAE.
Fujairah's economy is based around subsidies and Federal Government grants, distributed by the Government of Abu Dhabi (the seat of power in the U.A.E.). Local industry consists of cement, stone crushing and mining. These industries have witnessed resurgence due to the frenzied construction activity taking place in Dubai, the commercial powerhouse of the country. Notably, there is a flourishing free trade zone mimicking the success of the Dubai Free Zone Authority which was established around Jebel Ali Port, the busiest seaport in the region since the eighties. It has witnessed an exponential growth from 2003 onwards
Federal Government departments employ the majority of the native (local) workforce, with few opening businesses of their own. Local citizens (also referred to as locals) prefer to work within the service sectors and benefit from the generous commercial laws, which prohibit foreigners from owning more than 49% of any business or enterprise. Some of the reason why the free zone authorities have flourished to such an extent is due to the relaxation of this rule within their boundaries, allowing full foreign ownership. Shaikh Saleh Al Sharqi, younger brother to the Shaikh, is widely recognised as the driving force behind the commercialisation of the economy.
The present Shaikh is planning to make changes that will affect Fujairah in the future. Among other tourism projects in the pipeline is an $817m resort, Al Fujairah Paradise, near Dibba, on the northern Omani border, next to Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa. There will be around 1,000 five-star villas and hotels. It is expected that all the construction work will be finished end of 2009. The Shaikh is always trying to improve opportunities for the local workforce, by trying to entice businesses to locate in Fujairah and diverting Federal funds to local companies in the form of development projects.