Ajman, the smallest emirate

Visiting Ajman, the smallest emirate, is visiting the most typical coastal cities of the country: a millennial maritime history, a golden age of pearl fishing vanished, a fort-museum makes tribute to what remains of the past, a corniche and some depopulated souks. Ajman has no oil and gas on its territory, moreover it is almost isolated in the emirate of Sharjah. Today ignored by tourists, it is a peaceful provincial town that lives at the pace of its shipyards.

Ajman Museum, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

History of Ajman

Ajman has for over 2000 years sold to passing merchants pearls. The first traces of this activity date back to the third century BC The city was also known for its shipyards.

The name of Ajman would come from a tribe from Oman in 1775. The Emirate had its first official recognition as a state in 1820, on the occasion of a treaty of country passed with Great Britain. The Persian Gulf was then the prey of struggles for commercial influence, and there were many skirmishes between the tribes of different emirates.

Over the decades, other maritime security treaties were signed with Great Britain, and in 1892 Ajman became more officially under British rule, in a set of territories named the Trucial States. Throughout this period, the number of inhabitants oscillated around 1000.

In 1971 the British withdrew permanently from the region, and Ajman agreed to join the United Arab Emirates, the newly created country by the merger of seven emirates.

Ajman today

At the beginning of this century, Ajman hosts 240,000 inhabitants. The city is internationally known in the Muslim world through its channel Channel 4 broadly broadcast satellite. It broadcasts on the small screen the line of programs that had made the success of Public Radio. In the 1960s, Public Radio was the first radio station in the United Arab Emirates, broadcasting Qur'anic verses and other religious readings.

On the economic front, if the shipyards still produce some dhows with traditional lines, it is the repair of ships which is the economic lung of the city. If you go to the docks, you will see several kilometers of utility vessels moored under repair.

Administrative boundaries of the emirate of Ajman, member of the United Arab Emirates ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Tourism in Ajman

We prefer to warn you, Ajman is not a major tourist destination. Going there is recommended to travelers who have plenty of time to spend in the region. Amateur photographers will be delighted by the authenticity of the location, which do not seem to have changed since the 60s.

Ajman Fort

Ajman Fort is the main tourist attraction. Like many forts in the region, he was the symbol of the emirate's authority and organized his defense in the event of an attack. Built around 1775, the fort is made of coral and gypsum. It was damaged in 1820 during the conflict with the British. Transformed into a museum in the 20th century, it traces beyond the history of Ajman, the life of the population in the United Arab Emirates. There are antiques, old photos, objects of yesteryear. And also the representation of craft trades, as in most of the forts-museum of this kind of the country. But at Ajman Fort, the number of trades represented by full-size figurines is particularly important. The fort is open every day except Friday, from 8am to 8pm. Admission is 5AED (15AED for a family).

Opposite the fort, two sleepy little souks: the Ajman Saleh market and the Ajman gold souk. On the interior corniche, at the beginning of the peninsula, there is also Ajman Fish Market. On the ledge you will also find the Al Murabaa (Al-Murabaa Watchtower) Watchtower, which was erected in 1930 to protect the city. It has since been restored in 2000. On the other side of the peninsula, the beach of Ajman (Ajman Beach). As the city is rather traditional, tanning in a bikini would be out of place.

Ajman also has other historical sites (towers and fortresses) in its enclave of Manama including the fort of Al Mareer (Al Mareer fort) also called Al Manama museum (Al Manama museum). These sites are less than an hour's drive from Ajman city.

The other Ajman enclave is located near Hatta, in the Ajar Mountains region. There is the very small castle Masfout (Masfout Castle), actually a two-bedroom tower built in the 19th century to protect the area of the bandits coming from the Sultanate of Oman.

On the territory of Ajman stands the Hassa Buweeid (Hassa Buweeid castle), also known as the White Stones Castle. It is a square tower with two rooms. Although its appearance is traditional, it was built late in 1976. There is also the red fort built at the same time, and to which was added a third tower when it was restored in 1986.

Interior of the Ajman Fort Museum, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

Tower of Ajman City Fort, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

Ajman Hotels

In Ajman there are two very good beachfront hotels with beach: The Ajman Saray Luxury Resort Resort and the Fairmont. We can also quote two other good hotels in the same category: The Ajman Palace Hotel and the Kempinski Hotel Ajman.

In the lower category (4 stars), the two Ramada hotels are generally cheaper by 30%, a difference justified by services clearly behind. The Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman, which as its name suggests is on the beach, and the Ramada Hotel Suites Ajman which is a city hotel offering a good compromise comfort-budget, if your intention is just to spend a night in Ajman as part of a tour.

For hotels with 1, 2 or 3 stars, as well as apart hotels, the prices are very low. Quality too. Nothing really recommendable in our opinion, but again if your goal is just to spend a night and get back on the road, you can find your happiness and save on your budget - and have fun later on during the stay. be?

Ajman maps

Map of the city of Ajman, United Arab Emirates ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Map with location of the fort and Ajman Museum ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Notes and references :

Office of tourism