Ra’s al-Khaimah, the most northerly
emirate on the UAE’s west coast, has an impressive 64km
shoreline. This is backed by a fertile palm-filled plain which
is overshadowed by the precipitous Hajar Mountains to the east.
In the north, close to the emirate’s border with the
Sultanate of Oman, the sheer rocky mountain slopes seem to
rise straight out of the sea. The area of the emirate is equivalent
to 2.2 per cent of the UAE’s total landmass. Ra’s
al-Khaimah also possesses a number of islands including those
of Greater and Lesser Tunb, occupied by Iran since 1971.
A winding creek, Khor Ra’s al-Khaimah, divides the city
of Ra’s al-Khaimah into two distinct areas connected
by a large modern bridge. .A road to the south also joins the
two parts of the town along the water’s edge. The old
fort housing Ra’s al-Khaimah National Museum and the
old souq are located in the western section, Old Ras al-Khaimah
whilst the eastern area, Al Nakheel, is where hotels, offices
and modern shops are to be found, mostly on Oman St, between
the Hospital and Cinema roundabouts.
For centuries Ra’s al-Khaimah depended on seafaring,
fishing and agriculture and these occupations are still important
today, however with a distinctly modern twist. Digdagga in
the fertile hinterland is now a major agricultural area supplying
fruit and vegetables to the other emirates. Mina Saqr, to the
north of Ra’s al-Khaimah city, is an important modern
port and, fishermen from the traditional fishing district of
Rams now ply their trade in motorized fishing boats. Stone
quarrying in the mountains and oil production from the offshore
Saleh field have also helped to fund prosperity.