Fujairah is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and the only one of the seven that has a coastline solely on the Gulf of Oman and none on the Persian Gulf.
In 1902, Fujairah entered into treaty relations with Britain, becoming the last of the emirates to join the Trucial States. On 2 December 1971, Fujairah joined the United Arab Emirates.
Fujairah is also home to the oldest mosque in the United Arab Emirates which was built in 1446 of mud and bricks. It is similar to other mosques found in Yemen, eastern Oman, and Qatar. Al Bidyah Mosque has four domes (unlike the other similar mosques which have between seven and twelve) and lacks a minaret.
The Emirate of Fujairah covers approximately 1,166 km2, or about 1.5% of the area of the UAE, and is the fifth largest Emirate in the UAE. Its population is around 152,000 inhabitants (in 2009). Only the Emirate of Umm al-Quwain has fewer occupants.
Fujairah is the only Emirate of the UAE that is almost totally mountainous. All the other Emirates, like Dubai and Abu Dhabi are located on the west coast, and are largely covered by desert. Consequently, Fujairah boasts a higher than average yearly rainfall of the UAE, allowing farmers in the region to produce one crop every year.
The weather is seasonal, although it is warm for most of the year. The months of October to March are generally regarded as the coolest, with daytime temperatures averaging around 25 °C (77 °F) and rarely venturing above 30 °C (86 °F)—with temperatures climbing to over 40 °C (104 °F) degrees in the summer. The winter period also coincides with the rainy season and although by no means guaranteed, this is when Fujairah experiences the bulk of its precipitation. Rainfall is higher than the rest of the UAE, partly because of the effect of the mountains that encircle the Emirate, and partly because the prevailing winds are easterly bringing with them water-laden clouds off the warm Indian Ocean.
The variability of the east coast climate is partly due to the presence of the Hajjar mountain range. As with other mountainous areas, precipitation is higher, and this allows for a more varied micro-environment in the area. Tourist visitor numbers peak just before the school summer months.
Fujairah had a population of 125,698 at the last Census held in 2005. The latest estimate of population is 152,000.
Power is ultimately held by the ruler of Fujairah, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, who has been in power since the death of his father in 1974. The Sheikh supposedly makes money himself through his own business, and the government funds are used for social housing development and beautifying the city, although there is little distinction between the state and his personal wealth. The ruler can make any decisions regarding any aspect of law, although federal laws take precedence.
The Sheikh and his immediate family heads the cabinet of Fujairah, and a few members of respected local families make up the advisory committees. The Sheikh must ratify any decisions by the cabinet. After the ratification, such decisions may be enacted into law as Emiri decrees, which are usually effective immediately.
Foreigners or visitors are not allowed to buy land. Emirati nationals can purchase land from the government, after proving their nationality. If there is no suitable land available via the official government offices, private purchases can also be made, with the eventual price being determined by the market and the individuals themselves.
Fujairah's economy is based on subsidies and federal government grants distributed by the government of Abu Dhabi (the seat of power in the UAE). Local industry consists of cement, stone crushing and mining. A resurgence in the construction activity helped the local industry. There is a flourishing free trade zone, mimicking the success of the Dubai Free Zone Authority which was established around Jebel Ali Port.
The federal government employs the majority of the native, local workforce, with few opening businesses of their own. Many of the locals work in the service sector. The Fujairah government prohibits foreigners from owning more than 49% of any business. The free zones have flourished, partly due to the relaxation of such prohibition within the zones, as full foreign ownership is allowed there. Shaikh Saleh Al Sharqi, younger brother to the ruler, is widely recognized as the driving force behind the commercialization of the economy.
Fujairah is a major bunkering port with large scale shipping operations taking place every day. Shipping & ship related services are thriving businesses of the city. Due to the business friendly environment and ease of logistic support, ships trading from Persian gulf anchor here for provisions, bunkers, repair & technical support, spares & stores before proceeding on long voyages. The city is also geographically well suited for such ship service related activities.
Government of Fujairah is major shareholder in National Bank of Fujairah, an UAE local bank, incorporated in 1982. NBF is in the areas of corporate and commercial banking, trade finance and treasury.
The ruler is planning to make changes that will affect Fujairah. Among tourism projects in the pipeline is an $817m resort, Al Fujairah Paradise, near Dibba Al-Fujairah, on the northern Omani border, next to Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort. There will be around 1,000 five-star villas as well as hotels, and it is expected that all the construction work will be finished within two years.
The Sheikh is 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.
The Habshan–Fujairah oil pipeline has been announced which will create an oil export terminal in the Emirate.
Health care is delivered in a mixed public and private system. Locals are treated free at the federal government hospitals, while foreigners have to pay for medical care. The national government funds the federal hospitals and subsidize health care with petrodollar revenues. There are criticisms that the government is not providing health care sufficiently for those with low income, who have to pay for critical treatment themselves.
The Fujairah government has built clinics, known locally as "medical houses", such Madena Medical House in Madab, and Moresheed Medical House in Moresheed. These clinics complement and help lighten the load on the main Fujairah Hospital by allowing walk-in appointments and providing ancillary medical services. These clinics turned out to be a success, visited by the local populace.
The chief of surgery Dr Subash Gautam, is recognized as the protagonist behind the modernization of health care within Fujairah. As the standards of surgical and emergency care improve in the country, Dr. Gautam became the director of the Advanced Trauma Life Support program, which helped introduce a measure to improve emergency treatment and survival rates amongst the thousands of trauma patients admitted across the country every year.
GMC Hospital is a private health care provider in Fujairah. It contains an emergency department, operating theater, pharmacy and outpatients clinics. It is located near the Ahli Club.
There are many government schools in Fujairah, which are mainly for Emirati people, beside some numbers of Arab residents. Aside from government schools, there are also private schools, and due to the majority of the population of the Emirate hailing from the Indian subcontinent, most of the private schools follow the IndianCentral Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus, accredited by the Central Education Board of India.
Indian School Fujairah (Kerala Board)
Our Own English High School, Fujairah (which also provides International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE))
St. Mary's Catholic High School, Fujairah (which also provides General Certificate of Education (GCE) A levels)
Fujairah Private Academy, also provides International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), A level, AS Level
Subjectively the top school in Fujairah, Fujairah Private Academy is a fee paying school for boys and girls from 3.5 to 18 years of age. There are 400+ pupils, with 120 in the Senior Section.
A few other schools serving other expatriate communities also exist, such as Iranian and Pakistani schools, educating a minority of the student population.
Pakistan Islamia School Fujairah (PISF) U.A.E. was established in 1982 with less than 35 students and classes in wooden cabins. The school has since then grown substantially and is now, with over 402 students and its own purpose-built school building, one of the leading Pakistani Community Schools in the UAE.
Fujairah Montessori Nursery is the only pre-school in Fujairah. It admits children from the age of two years. It is located at building number 14 in the "16 Buildings". The location has recently changed.
There are several Nursery schools in Fujairah. 'Superbaby' in Fasseel and 'Little Stars' in Merashid are very popular with expat children.
Travel in and around Fujairah and the surrounding towns of Khor Kalba, Khor Fakkan, Kalba and Masafi has been made easy by the development of modern highways over the last 30 years, since gaining independence in 1971. Highways are funded by the federal government directly, and contracts are tendered centrally. This is meant to safeguard the quality and delivery of the contracts and prevent corruption from damaging the construction. Highways are vital due to the unavailability of any other means of transport. There are some buses in Fujairah but not for travel; they are for schools, colleges and some companies or they come from other cities. There are no railways yet in Fujairah, though in 2008 a railway network connecting all Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The car and the truck are the main mode of transport. Most daily activities can become impractical, if not impossible, without a private vehicle.
Newcomers and tourists can use the taxi system, which operates all day and night. There is no central booking system for private companies, but the government is planning to apply one. Taxis are hailed by standing at the roadside and flagging one down. Fares within the city are fixed at AED 4 per journey, which equates to one dollar and nine cents(US$), 50 pence (GBP) or 78 Euro cents. Destinations which are slightly outside the main city, such as the Beach Motel, Fujairah Hospital and the Jail attract a higher fare of 6 AED.
As of 2007 all taxis are metered, uniform in color (mostly yellow with green stripes) and report to a head company known as Cars. The meter starts from a minimum of 3 AED. A ride cost an average of 6 AED. The new Sheikh Khalifa highway linking Dubai and Fujairah was officially inaugurated on Saturday, 4 December 2011, following delays to the originally scheduled opening date of July 2011. It is a road that shortens distance by 20 to 30 km. The Fujairah International Airport is near the city, with a large falcon statue at the airport roundabout.
Fujairah City Centre is a "lifestyle and entertainment destination", said its developer, Majid Al Futtaim Properties. The mall opened in April 2012 with 105 units, 85% of which contain brands which are new to Fujairah.
Sheikh Khalifa highway
The new Sheikh Khalifa highway linking Dubai and Fujairah was officially inaugurated on Saturday 4th,December,2011.
The new opening date was timed to be in conjunction with the 40th occasion of the UAE’s National Day. The 45 km long highway will cut the driving time between Dubai and Fujairah to 30 minutes from the current 90, developers claim.
"The road begins from the entrance of Fujairah City, crossing Al Gazirmi locality, Wadi Sahm, Asfeeni, Mamdooh, Kadra and Shawka Valleys in Ras Al Khaimah, and ends at Maleeha Road in Sharjah, namely at Hamda area," Dr Abdullah Be Hanif Al Nuaimi, undersecretary of the Public Works Ministry.
The $436m highway is part of the UAE’s $1.6bn plan for increased infrastructure investment in the Northern Emirates. This investment includes the building of electricity and water networks in the UAE’s only Eastern Coast emirate.
Drinking alcohol is allowed at designated hotels, and as of 2000, at a few bars. Until 1998, gambling in the form of slot machines was allowed in certain hotels, but personal petitions by locals to the Sheikh outlawed the activity. It transpired that some players were losing entire monthly wages on the slots, leaving nothing for the upkeep of their families.
Groups of (Emirati) youths tend to socialize together on the streets and cafés or outside games arcades, cinemas and mini malls. It is unusual to see mixed-sex groups as the Emirati society is quite segregated.
On vacations occasionally, many Fujairah residents travel to western emirates such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi for entertainment and shopping purposes. Or they might visit Wadis surrounding the emirate on camping and hiking trips. While other Emirates residents visit Fujairah for relaxation purposes and to get away from the stifling heat of the desert. Watersports are becoming more and more popular amongst both locals and tourists. Examples of watersports are Jet Ski, windsurfing, waterskiing and diving.
Professional diving instructors can be found in Le Meridien or in Royal Beach Hotel, where one can even obtain an International Diving license for a fee.