Located close to the Mohammed bin Salim Mosque at the western edge of the emirate, the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah is a historic fort in the northern emirate. Archaeological excavations and research have revealed that this building was once the ruling family’s residence, and was later destroyed twice in wars, used as the police headquarters for some time and finally turned into a museum in 1987.
Today, the museum has a collection of historical, archaeological, ethnographical and traditional material on display. The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, with its historical artefacts and all its storied past is a must-visit for all history and culture buffs.
About the National Museum of RAK
The Ras Al Khaimah National Museum building, which served as a fort, was attacked in the course of two wars over history. The first attack was by the Portuguese in 1621. It was then rebuilt at some point between 1809 to 1819 but was attacked and destroyed again in 1820 by the British. After that, the fort was used as a residence for the ruling family of Quwasim until the late 1960s.
After the family moved to a more modern residence, the fort was turned into a police headquarters and a prison. In 1987, it was finally turned into the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah.
Here are important things to note about the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah for those interested in visiting the fort.
- Ras Al Khaimah National Museum Ticket Price: AED 5 for adults | AED 2 for children
- Ras Al Khaimah National Museum Timings: Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday & Sunday (08:00 am to 06:00 pm) | Friday (03:00 pm to 07:30 pm) | Monday (Closed)
- Ras Al Khaimah National Museum Location: Al Hisn Rd, RAK City. Ras Al Khaimah
- Ras Al Khaimah National Museum Contact: +971-7-233-3411
Construction and architecture of the ‘Later Fort’
After the destruction of the ‘Early Fort’, it was reconstructed as a defence building which is often referred to as ‘Later Fort’. Like many other traditional buildings in the UAE, the fort was built using coral stones sourced from the sea. These fossils make for a light-weight building material that keeps the fort cool during summers and warm in winters.
In the 1820s, the building was made up of three round towers and a big tower surrounding a square building. This structure was revised many times, turning it into a bigger and more fortified complex. In its current form, the big rectangular structure is the oldest part of the building that served as the single big defence tower, surrounded by three smaller towers. This tower’s foundations were constructed in 1809-1819, while the other additions were included to the structure in later years.
The wind tower is another interesting feature of the fort. In the days before air-conditioning existed, it was designed to redirect the wind from all directions into the house through its open sides.
RAK National Museum galleries
The towers and the overall architecture of this 19th-century fort beautifully depict the region’s architectural history. The rooms have antique wooden doors featuring carved designs, making it one of the best Insta-worthy spots in Ras Al Khaimah. Visitors to the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah can also enjoy the exhibitions displayed in its rooms around the inner courtyard garden.
Many of the historic artefacts displayed in the museum have been donated by the ruling Quwasim family and residents of Ras Al Khaimah. Additionally, the Department of Antiquities and Museums has also contributed to the collection by undertaking surveys, scientific studies and archaeological excavations that are displayed in the museum.
That’s everything you need to know about the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah.
The emirate has many other places and historic sites of interest to visitors. Al Qasimi Palace, for instance, is a popular destination where visitors can explore the history of the emirate. The palace is also an interesting spot for those eager to discover “haunted places”, as there are rumours abound about the fascinating history of this place. There are also a number of other things to do in Ras Al Khaimah.
Have you visited the National Museum of RAK? Don’t forget to share your experience with us in the comments section!