Ras Al Khaimah, which in Arabic, literally translates to “top of the tent” is the northernmost emirate in the UAE. Located between the Arabian Gulf and the Hajar Mountains, Ras Al Khaimah enjoys copious diversity in its landscape. From white sandy beaches in the west to the starkly contrasting jagged mountains in the east and the desert plains that lie between the two, the emirate has been blessed with an abundance of natural beauty.
With Mother Nature already on its side, there has also been a recent boom in the infrastructure, economy, tourism, and real estate developments in Ras Al Khaimah. Its modern highways, easy connectivity with other emirates, and growing tourism industry make Ras Al Khaimah a premier destination to invest in commercial and residential villas and apartments.
All these facts aren’t the only fascinating things about Ras Al Khaimah. This lesser-known emirate has a lot more to offer in terms of adventures, weekend escapes, and the UAE’s rich heritage. It’s safe to say there are still plenty of facts about Ras Al Khaimah that the world doesn’t know about. We’ve shortlisted the 7 most interesting ones for you.
1. Ras Al Khaimah’s History Dates Back to the Bronze Age
The emirate’s rich history reveals that it has been home to settlers that came to the region more than 7,000 years ago. Archaeological relics dating back to 5000 BC are proof that most of these settlers were advanced trading nations that chose Ras Al Khaimah for its maritime importance and accessibility to the Arabian Gulf.
The region’s glorious past has witnessed British, Dutch, Portuguese, and Islamic conquests. The remnants of Ras Al Khaimah’s turbulent history over the centuries is evident in the historic fortifications that still stand their ground within its parameters. The most prominent ones include the Dhaya Fort, the Al Falayah Fort and the Al Hisn Fort, which now serves as the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah.
2. UAE’s First Cultured Pearl Farm is in Ras Al Khaimah
Reincarnating the old tradition of extracting pearls from the ocean, the Suwaidi Cultured Pearl house established in 2004, became the first of its kind in the UAE. It is the only cultured pearl farm in Ras Al Khaimah to date. Before the discovery of oil, the coasts of the UAE, particularly Ras Al Khaimah were known for their pearl diving activities.
In an attempt to revive the long-lost trade and inherited legacy, Mr. Al Suwaidi has tried to bring back the culture of pearl diving to the emirate. The only difference is, that people don’t have to dive into the open sea to find the treasure of pearls now, they can get the same from the safe waters where these oysters are now farmed.
3. Ras Al Khaimah is Home to the Jazairat Al Hamra Ghost Town
Jazairat Al Hamra in Ras Al Khaimah is one of the oldest known regions in the emirate. This place is where giant structures from the past give you a glimpse of the ancient coastal settlements. As you walk through the fertile plains, you can witness the areas where villages once thrived amid impenetrable security. The archaic watchtowers atop the hills surrounding the houses are living proof of that.
Despite the innate historical charm of Jazairat Al Hamra, the place remains largely unexplored. Some might blame people’s disinterest in the island on the long-standing rumour that the ancient village is haunted. That, however, does not change the fact that it makes for a stunning photography destination!
4. Free-Roaming Animals are Common in Ras Al Khaimah
Desert safaris and desert camping in the UAE is quite the norm and while you’re out in the wild, chances of encounters with the region’s wildlife don’t come as a surprise. Even when you are roaming around the major cities in the UAE, you do come across a few domesticated falcons and camels here and there, especially at tourist attractions. But running into a free-roaming animal while on the go is relatively rare.
This is not the case in Ras Al Khaimah. Wildlife walks free here and it is quite possible for you to run into wild goats, camels, or sometimes even the rare Arabian Oryx.
5. Ras Al Khaimah’s Oldest Traditions Stay Alive in the Al Wahabiyya
Ras Al Khaimah is the only emirate where the Al Wahbiyya dance form is still performed. The dance is one of the oldest forms of art practised in the UAE. The Al Wahabiyya dancers usually align themselves in two rows before moving back and forth rhythmically to the music of drums.
A usual performance of the dance normally has three sections – there is poetry, dance, and music. This folk dance is common during weddings, celebrations, and special occasions. Sometimes, dancers perform with guns and swords to add flair to their overall performance.
6. Ras Al Khaimah Beaches are Downright Gorgeous
Whether you visit Ras Al Khaimah for business or pleasure, you just cannot skip the beaches. The emirate is endowed with pristine white sandy beaches that stretch across the 62 km coastline. Besides spectacular views of the horizon and some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see, these beaches also boast plenty of watersports activities. Wakeboarding, bodyboarding, boating, surfing – you name it, they have it.
To add to all that, the beach resorts in Ras Al Khaimah are world class. If you fancy a luxurious 5-star stay in Ras Al Khaimah, you might want to book yourself a couple of nights at the Hilton Resort and Spa or the Cove Rotana Resort.
7. The World’s Longest Zip Line is in Ras Al Khaimah
Besides being home to the UAE’s highest mountain – Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah also boasts the world’s longest adrenaline-packed zipline for adventure junkies. The zip line starts from the top of Jebel Jais and ends somewhere in the foot of the Hajar Mountains.
The Hajar Mountains also present an excellent package of thrill and excitement. You can go hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and camping there. It’s basically up to you. You decide the level of adventure and exploration you wish to indulge in.
Whether you choose a weekend trip to Ras Al Khaimah or simply visit the place for some other purpose, this quaint emirate is bound to leave you in awe. Make sure you explore the city’s many attractions, to enjoy the complete joy it has to offer. And while you’re at it, discover more interesting facts about this stunning emirate that we call Ras Al Khaimah!