Recommended routes United Arab Emirates
Seven emirates, seven days? It's a bit short, but undoubtedly possible for a first overview of the Emirates, as long as you are motorized. If you are planning sporting activities, add as many days as you want. Camel ride? One day. Skiing on the dunes? One day. Etc.
- See recommended routes in Dubai.
Emirate of Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi (city)
Despite-sais-quoi d & rsquociel, with wide rectilinear avenues. Even the wildest projects here take on more pharaonic than playful hues. Oil and the Emir still reign here as almost absolute masters.
De l & rsquoHosn Palace (white fort), the castle of the emirs, built in the second half of the XNUMXth century. And the dhows that still dock at the northern end of the pleasant ledge, the long promenade that borders the lagoon, opposite the fish market and the Iranian bazaar.
The rest, everything else, is new:
- La cultural foundation right in the center, with its pleasant café (Delma Corner) appreciated by expatriates.
- La great mosque and, that, disproportionate, of Sheikh Zayed, built in the suburbs and completed in 2007. Its proportions are crazy: 4 minarets of 104 ms, 3 domes of 85 m, a multitude of domes, room for 35 worshipers and an intoxicating attention to detail. The marble is Greek, the chandeliers in solid gold, the decorations worthy of the Thousand and One Nights with, on the walls, giant reproductions of pages from the Koran ... Budget: 000 million dollars.
- In the genre of complete stars in the world, set up on the ledge, facing a beach created for the occasion. Curious? Guided tours are organized every day except Friday.
- The Louvre Abu Dhabi, branch of the Parisian museum, inaugurated at the end of 2017.
- Rest on the way between souk for tourists and ethnographic village (reconstructed from scratch).
On the beach side, let's mention Raha beach, 25 km to the east, and under permanent construction, and especially the mega-complex of Saadiyat Island, also in perpetual construction, which will host new world-class museums by 2020, including a branch of the Guggenheim in New York.
See also Abu Dhabi between two planes in our report on air hubs.
Our pre-Hila stopover. In Al Ain, the eastern fort, birthplace of Sheikh Zayed, is adjacent to the city museum.
At the gates of Nar (2300-2200 BC) discovered in the Emirates. To see again: the dromedary market (early in the morning), quite difficult to find and the zoo (for its oryx). Those who dream of high orange dunes sculpted by the wind will not miss a stroll in thevery which stands at the western exit of the city, direction Abu Dhabi.
Another point of khali & rsquoouest. Several forts have been restored. Be careful, the area, close to the Saudi border, remains quite sensitive. In case you were wondering, oil well photos are prohibited!
Sir Bani Yas Island
More like a kind of huge natural zoo wanted by Sheikh Zayed. There is now a luxury resort there, the ideal base for going on a 4x4 safari, kayaking in the mangroves, mountain biking or exploring the waters. Another center of interest, even if not much remains: the remains of the one and only Christian (Nestorian) monastery ever built (in the XNUMXth century) on the shores of the Gulf.
Emirate of Sharjah
Just north of Dubai (sky and towers at Gharb) has been rehabilitated and transformed into an “arts district”, earning it the title of cultural capital of the Arab world by Unesco in 1998.
The city has no less than 17 Gharb museums: Heritage Museum with its old houses wearing Arsah, quite sanitized Hisn, destroyed in 1969 and rebuilt identically to better reconnect with local roots!
Le Arts district (Al Shuwaiheen) neighbor brings together several cultural institutes, galleries and the Sharjah Art Museum (mostly orientalist works), headquarters of a major contemporary art biennial. Let us mention a very interesting Archaeological Museum south of the city and the temple of modern shopping, the blue souk (central market), set up facing the (artificial) lagoon of Khaled. This strange modern building, inspired by traditional architecture, is next to the two minarets of the great mosque of King Faisal.
In the interior, the Desert park is a very successful natural history museum dedicated to the very environment in which it stands. All modern techniques are used to make adults and children aware of the fragility of this ecosystem. TheArabian Wildlife Center Neighbor's mission is to breed the most endangered endemic species in captivity (including the Arabian leopard).
Emirate of Ras el Khaïma
Stuck now missing.
La city of Ras el Khaïouest. It s & rsquoHusen (rebuilt after 1820). Also transformed into a museum, it is distinguished by its superb carved wooden doors. The exhibits are devoted to archeology, maritime trade and the Qawassim. The British called these men "pirates" who did little more than defend themselves from being colonized by them.
Towards the north, towards the Omani Mussandam peninsula, we can stop at ruins of Julfar, advertised (wrongly) as the site of the palace of the Queen of Sheba. There are only a few remains, but the panorama, from the hill topped with a large flag, is impressive. Rams retains an endearing port and an old adobe watchtower. Further on, the fort of dhayah was the last stronghold of the Qawassim.
South-east of Ras el Khaïmah, Khatt is a thermal center renowned for its sulphurous waters (40 ° C). As if it wasn't hot enough ...
Emirate of Fujairah
Facing the Gulf of Oman (Indian Ocean), largely occupied by mountains, Fujairah is one of the least populated and least visited of the emirates. This does not mean that it is one of the least interesting! The landscapes are much more removed than elsewhere, especially on the Green Coast, where the foothills of the Hadjar mountains descend into the sea, enclosing short green valleys where palm groves and gardens flourish. The beaches and the seabed are often superb and still relatively uncrowded.
The capital, Fujaïdessus squares of palm grove and the old fort (1670) perched on its central promontory. We stroll along the seafront promenade and visit a unique museum dedicated to local archeology and ethnography (reconstructed rooms).
Kalba, to the south, is in fact an enclave of Sharjah, on which Fujairah depended until 1972. You can see an old fort on the way to the mangrove of Khor Kalba, popular with bird watchers (mostly English).
Bithna, inland, on the road to Sharjah, is a pretty palm grove with dusty lanes watched over by an old fort.
Highlight of the DeFakkan). The XVIIth century valleys), an endearing place topped with four domes. The imam and his son gladly let visitors visit the interior (tip appreciated), with the appearance of a converted cave. Several watchtowers cover the neighboring hills. Further north, large hotels have settled along narrow sandy beaches.
The second side, the fever of gold and business seems very foreign here ... THE center of interest is the away (1768) in blocks of coral, now a museum. Inside, a dhow, model ships, weapons and, above all, a fine collection of traditional gold jewelry and objects. The majlis room (council), upstairs, also deserves a glance for its beautiful sculpted balconies.
The aquarium of Marine Resources Research Center is not exciting. There remain the beaches (under development) and, 20 km to the north, the Dreamland Aqua Park. A little freshness in a stuffy world.
Emirate of Ajman
The smallest of the EHosn from 1775, one of the most beautiful in the Gulf, it houses many dioramas.
We forgot one attraction ... the famous signs "Parking for Men Only" or "Ladies Only Pedestrian Pavement" of Quortabah Street...