Khor Fakkan

Khor Fakkan

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Khor Fakkan is a town located along the Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman is a strait that connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then runs to the Persian Gulf. It is generally included as a branch of the Persian Gulf, not as an arm of the Arabian Sea. On the north coast is Pakistan and Iran...

 on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 (UAE). The town is set on the picturesque bay of Khor Fakkan, which means "Creek of Two Jaws". Khor Fakkan belongs to the emirate
Emirate
An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch styled emir.-Etymology:Etymologically emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any emir ....

 of Sharjah but is geographically surrounded by the emirate of Fujairah
Fujairah
Fujairah is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and the only one on the Gulf of Oman in the country's east instead of Persian Gulf .-History:...

. It is a natural deep water port that is now a major container terminal.

History


In 1580 the Venetian
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 jeweler Gasparo Balbi noted "Chorf" in a list of places on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

, which is considered by historians to indicate Khor Fakkan. The Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 built a fort at Khor Fakkan that was a ruin by 1666.

The log book of the Dutch vessel the Meerkat mentions this fort and another one, describing "Gorfacan" as place on a small bay, with about 200 small houses built from date branches, near the beach. It refers to a triangular Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 fortress on the northern side, in ruins, and a fortress on a hill on the southern side, also in ruins, without garrison or artillery. As well as date palms, the Meerkats log also mentions fig trees, melons, watermelons and myrrh
Myrrh
Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum....

. It notes several wells with "good and fresh water" used for irrigation.

One reason suggested for the ruinous state of the forts is an invasion in 1623 of the Persian navy under the control of Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

i Sheikh Muhammad Suhari. Suhari, facing a Portuguese counter-attack, withdrew to the Portuguese forts, including that of Khor Fakkan. When the Persians were expelled, the Portuguese commander Rui Freire urged the people of Khor Fakkan to remain loyal to the Portuguese crown and established a Portuguese customs office as well.

In 1737, long after the Portuguese had been expelled from Arabia, the Persians again invaded Khor Fakkan, with the help of the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, during their intervention in the Omani civil war. In 1765 Khor Fakkan belonged to a sheikh of the Al Qasimi
Al Qasimi
Al Qasimi is a deeply-rooted Adnani Arabian tribe known for its rich history, bravery and conquests. The Al Qasimi dynasty are from the Ashraaf; they trace their ancesty from Imam Ali. Today, two branches of the Al Qasimi tribe rule the Emirates of Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah in the United Arab...

, Sharjah's ruling family, according to the German traveler Carsten Niebuhr
Carsten Niebuhr
Carsten Niebuhr or Karsten Niebuhr , a German mathematician, cartographer, and explorer in the service of Denmark, is renowned for his travels on the Arabian peninsula.-Biography:...

.

There is a map by the French cartographer Rigobert Bonne
Rigobert Bonne
Rigobert Bonne was one of the most important cartographers of the late 18th century.In 1773 Bonne succeeded Jacques Nicolas Bellin as Royal Cartographer to France in the office of the Hydrographer at the Depôt de la Marine. Working in his official capacity, Bonne compiled some of the most detailed...

 dating to about 1770 that shows the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf and shows Khor Fakkan.

Royal officials


H.E. Sheikh Saeed bin Saqer bin Sultan Al-Qasimi
Saeed bin Saqer bin Sultan Al-Qasimi
Sheikh Saeed bin Saqer bin Sultan Al-Qasimi is the son of the late Sheikh Saqer bin Sultan Alqassimi, Ruler of Sharjah, 1951-1965. Born January 25, 1962, he is a member of the ruling family of Sharjah, which is one of the Emirates that comprise the UAE. Sheikh Saeed is Deputy Chairman of the...

, an Al-Qasimi royal, is Deputy Chairman of Amiri Court in Khor Fakkan. The Ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah is H.H Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi.

Archaeology


Khor Fakkan has a long history of human settlement. Excavations by a team from the Sharjah Archaeological Museum have identified 34 graves and a settlement belonging to the early-mid 2nd millennium BC
2nd millennium BC
The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.Its first half is dominated by the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and Babylonia. The alphabet develops. Indo-Iranian migration onto the Iranian plateau and onto the Indian subcontinent propagates the use of the chariot...

. These are clustered on rock outcrops overlooking the harbour.

One site of interest is the Rifaisa Dam, in the mountains of Khor Fakkan. This is believed to have been built over a village, and when the water is very still, the tops of the old houses are still visible.

Tourism


Khor Fakkan is a popular tourism spot, surrounded with huge mountains and attractive beaches. It also features coral outcrops suitable for diving and snorkeling. Khor Fakkan has one 4 star holiday beach resort, the Oceanic Hotel.

The fish, fruit and vegetable souq is located at the southern end of the corniche and near the main highway.

Al Wurrayah Falls is reachable by four-wheel-drive around 4.5 km north of the Oceanic hotel.