Ras Al Khaimah is one of seven emirates that joined to form the United Arab Emirates on December 2, 1971, with Ras Al Khaimah joining the UAE on February 10, 1972. The other six emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah with Abu Dhabi being the capital of the UAE. The UAE has its own permanent constitution that illustrates the basic rules of the political system as well as the federation’s components and goals.
The emirate is governed by a local government under the leadership and guidance of Supreme Council Member and Ras Al Khaimah Ruler, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi.
Originally known as Julfar, Ras Al Khaimah’s history dates back several millennia with it being inhabited for as long. Over time, several historical and archaeological sites have been discovered throughout the emirate – dating from different time periods, including remnants of the Umm an-Nar Culture (3rd millennium BC). As recently as October 2012, ancient graves were found in the Emirate
Today, the emirate boasts many heritage and tourism sites and is also considered the most fertile agricultural land amongst all the emirates. Thus, in addition to an active tourism sector, Ras Al Khaimah also had a vibrant industrial sector. With many widespread development plans in the pipeline, Ras Al Khaimah has an ambitious vision and looks forward to a promising future teeming with development and excellence.
Ras Al Khaimah is situated in the northernmost part of the UAE between the Latitude of 25-26N and Longitude of 55-60 E. It is bordered from the South and the Northeast by Oman and shares borders with the emirates of Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah, and Fujairah. There are a number of islands which form part of the emirate, such as Greater and Lesser Tunbs, and it is the only emirate that overlooks the entrance to the Arabian Gulf.
Ras Al Khaimah has a vast coastline stretching to roughly 65 kilometres. The emirate is located in the far east of the Arab World, and it is the nearest emirate to the strategic Strait of Hormuz. It is also the nearest one to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the former republics of the Soviet Union.
According to census estimates by the RAK Center for Statistics & Studies, the population reached 345,000 in 2015, RAK’s live births witnessed an increase pf 12%, i.e. 4557 new-borns in 2015 if compared witnessed a pared to 2014, while still births witnessed a remarkable decrease at a percentage of 32%, reaching 15 stillbirths.
Ras Al Khaimah is situated on a triangle-shaped land strip with an average width of one kilometre. A creek called Khor Ras Al Khaimah divides the city into West and East. Mangrove trees grow all over the creek, and the two areas are connected by a large bridge, which only complements Ras Al Khaimah’s stunning natural landscape.
On the East side, a mountain range surrounds the emirate, reaching the sea in the Shaam area at the peak of the triangle; this also forms the coastline of the emirate that stretches out to the Umm Al Quwain borders.
On the West, Ras Al Khaimah consists of coastal plains overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The Northern area is rocky in nature where the mountains extend to the Gulf coast. This mountain range stretches out to the East side and reaches the Arabian Gulf at the Shaam area. The area nestled between the coast and mountains has fertile agricultural soil, fresh water springs, farms, and gardens. The beaches of the Al Ramas area, which are to the North of the emirate, are famous for their abundance of fisheries, while the Digdaga area is famous for its agricultural fields. Khatt is full of hot-water springs; it is located 35 kilometres south-east of Ras Al Khaimah city, and is considered an excellent tourist destination.
Khor Ras Al Khaimah
Khor Ras Al Khaimah divides the city into western and eastern sections that are connected by a bridge and ring roads:
This section includes the old city of Ras Al Khaimah and the areas of Sadorah, Dahan, Khuzam, Al Dhait and Al Jazirah Al Hamra. These residential areas cover Freij Sadroh, Kuwaiti Hospital, Freij Dahan, Khuzam area (Ras Al Khaimah Hotel), Khuzam Palace (the Governor's mansion), the Emirates Club and the northern Dhait (motor exhibitions, Police Headquarters of Ras Al Khaimah).
Includes the Al Ma’amoura area where Al Diwan Al Amiri is located, and also the areas of Al Nakheel, Al Oraibi (Mohammed Ibrahim Obaidullah Hospital), Al Mareed, Al Shamal (heritage area), Khor Ras Al Khaimah (the base of manufacturing industries in the emirate), Shaam which is located 30 kilometres to the north-east of Ras Al Khaimah city, Ghalilah and Al Jeer which stretches to the Omani borders (Musandam Governorate). This section also contains the Governmental departments, Federal ministries and the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat).
Ras Al Khaimah is divided into five administrative areas:
The First Area: Ras Al Khaimah City, which includes the old and modern areas of Ras Al Khaimah. This area stretches out to Al Jazirah Al Hamra, which is located 14 kilometres from downtown.
The Second Area: The Northern area, including Shaam, Ghalilah, Al Jeer, Al Ramas and Al Shamal.
The Third Area: The Southern area, including Massafi, Kedra, Al Huwaylat, Al Ghail, Uthun, Asema, Dafta and Rafak.
The Fourth Area: The Al Nakheel area, which was one of the prominent summer resorts in the past for the residents of Ras Al Khaimah and other emirates.
The Fifth Area: This area extends from Al Dhait South to Al Khatt town; it is a rural agricultural area that covers Al Kharran, which is located 13 kilometres from Ras Al Khaimah, Al Digdaga (23 kilometres), Al Humranya (28 kilometres), and Khatt (33 kilometres).
Environments in Ras Al Khaimah
There are diverse environments in Ras Al Khaimah, giving it a wealth of available business and housing options.
There are sprawling sandy beaches in Ras Al Khaimah, and coral reefs adorn the extensive shoreline. The shoreline spreads from the Shaam area (the first point at the entrance of the Arabian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz), to the borders it shares with the emirate of Umm Al Quwain. The waters of the Arabian Gulf are home to a diverse ecology of marine life. The emirates many fisheries make for vast bodies of water for fish incubation. Over 3,500 species of birds live in this environment, some of them migratory birds. Bird Life declared this coast an important area on the international bird migration route. The coastal area stretches for five kilometres on Al Jazirah Al Hamra and includes mudflats and bodies of sand.
Ras Al Khaimah’s landscape spans vast deserts and sand dunes that are known for their stunning, sweeping formations with reddish sand. And with its sprawling cover of desert plants and Ghaf trees (Prosopis cineraria), driving through the emirate or spending time discovering it provides for a beautiful and refreshing adventure. Ras Al Khaimah’s expansive terrain is brimming with a variety of wildlife, with houbara bustard birds stopping there during their winter migration. For years, these deserts used to teem with deer, desert foxes, and other animals; however with the change in the ecology and the environment, their numbers have begun to diminish; though the UAE Government and that of Ras Al Khaimah have put into place rules to protect there indigenous wildlife species.
Mountain areas, especially those next to the sea and shore, are characterised by their great height and stone facades. They boast breath-taking natural scenery and low temperatures in both, summer and winter, making the emirate the ideal summer destination. Many rare plants grow in the area, which also feature captivating wildlife, such as Arabian leopards and caracals.
Samar trees (Acacia tortilis) and savannah grow in plains at the foot of the mountains. These plains are vast and represent an important environment for human life, with certain types of migratory birds reproducing there. Rich in monuments and historical forts, this area is full of historically important sites.
The Rural Lands
With agricultural land spanning vast areas, greenery in Ras Al Khaimah is nestled into mountain tops and is a refuge for migratory birds as well. These fertile lands gave the emirate significant importance in the past, providing the UAE markets with plentiful produce, and other emirates with food. In addition, this environment is vitally important for the population.