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Emirates TravelUnited Arab Emirates / Fujairah
 

Fujairah

Fujairah has a population of about 130,000
The United Arab Emirates is a federation formed in 1971 of seven states: Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah. The entire UAE covers 83,600 square kilometers and has a population of 2.6 million. Fujairah has a population of about 130,000. Most of the UAE is on the southern shore of the Arabian Gulf and has a warm, subtropical climate. Fujairah, however, borders on the Gulf of Oman. Though Arabic is the official language of the UAE, English is spoken widely and commonly used in business transactions.

Fujairah is framed by the Indian Ocean to the east and the Hajar mountains to the west. It is considered one of the most beautiful areas of the UAE, with beautiful beaches, and mountains that slope all the way down to the ocean in some places. The weather from October to March is ideal, with occasional clouds and rain, but mostly sunshine with temperatures of around 25 degrees centigrade, or around 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

{IMAGE1}While the other six emirates are located on the Persian Gulf, Fujairah is located on the eastern edge of the country, on the Gulf of Oman. Also unlike the other six emirates, Fujairah is almost totally mountainous rather than mostly desert. It also has more regular rainfall, enough to allow farmers in Fujairah to grow one cash crop per year.

Though it is an extremely beautiful region and has a handful of beautiful luxurious resorts, Fujairah is not experiencing the boom economy of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and even Ajman. The economy in Fujairah is based largely on federal government grants and subsidies. Local industry includes mining and stone crushing. The recent boom in construction in Dubai and to some extent Abu Dhabi has helped Fujairah build its fledgling industries, however.

{IMAGE2}Unemployment is high in Fujairah. Some estimate that as many as half the working population is unemployed. Most workers work in the service sector or for the government. The Fujairah Free Zone, surrounding the port of Fujairah, however, heavily promotes foreign investment in banking and trading, and that area has experienced healthy growth in a smaller scale version of the recent building boom in Dubai.

Another beneficial investment in Fujairah has been the emirate’s highway system over the past 30 years. The highway system is funded by the federal government, and is vital because other means of transport are largely absent. For most people, daily activities would be impractical without use of a car or truck. There are taxis, however, that tourists and business travelers can use.

{IMAGE3}The city Fujairah is said to be one of the safest in the federation, with movie theatres playing “Bollywood” movies from India and cleaned up versions of movies from the United States. Travelers also have a choice of several beautiful, modern luxury hotels for their stays. Because of its location on the easternmost part of the federation, on the Gulf of Oman rather than the Persian Gulf, Fujairah’s climate is more moderate than that of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The weather draws thousands of weekend visitors looking to escape the oppressive heat of those cities. Because of the mountain range between the city of Fujairah and the Gulf, the area is less hot and dry than the rest of the UAE.

{IMAGE4}The weather and the geography of mountains tumbling all the way to the ocean, give Fujairah a different feel from the other emirates. The mountains have even been compared to the Fells in Sweden and Norway. The difference, however, is that the Hajar mountains are intercut with oases dotted with palm trees. The mood in Fujairah is much more subdued than in red hot Dubai, and that is probably why the area is such a welcome respite for the residents and tourists visiting from the western part of the UAE.

There is even a small island just off the coast of Fujairah that has been nicknamed “Snoopy Island” for its resemblance to the iconic comic strip dog when viewed from certain angles. The area around Snoopy Island features good snorkeling, and is also a habitat for rays, sharks, turtles, and a beautiful array of different fishes. The beaches in this part of the UAE are less crowded than those of the bigger cities, and the prices are lower for meals and lodging. Fujairah is about a two hour drive from Dubai.

{IMAGE5}One of the most prominent attractions in Fujairah is the Fujairah Fort. Located on a hill on the edge of the city’s date gardens, the fort is said to be over 350 years old. Nearby is the Fujairah Heritage Village where visitors can see traditional houses and fishing boats made out of palm fronds. Fujairah also has a small museum filled with artifacts found in archeological digs in nearby regions.

The National Park, Ain al Madhab Gardens, is a mineral spa with accommodations on the western side of the city of Fujairah. It includes a playground, a replica heritage village, and the ruins of a fort, where traditional dress and household tools and ceramics are on display. Fujairah is a quieter region of the UAE, with different things to offer than the more famous areas of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. While the night life in Fujairah is less glitzy, and the Fujairah Free Zone isn’t as overwhelming as that in Dubai, this emirate offers an oasis-like pause from the fast pace and searing heat of the western emirates.

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