Al Jazeera Al Hamra or “the village of Al Hamra”, the place we currently call home, actually used to be a real village. I’m talking 50 years ago. What we see now is a relatively new development that meanders itself around a number of golf courses. The real old village of Al Hamra is about a mile from there next to the port and it is abandoned. A ghost town.

Wikipedia tells us that it is known for its collection of abandoned buildings, including a mosque, which are widely believed locally to be haunted. The town was home to three tribes and ruled by the Al-Zaab tribe, which was rehoused in Abu Dhabi following a dispute with the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. The place was formerly a tidal island and, by 1830, was home to some 200 people mostly occupied in pearl fishing. It is the region’s best example of a pre-oil village, displaying three distinct types of early- and mid-20th century Gulf architecture.

It has remained almost unaltered since inhabitants left in 1968. Apart from a ghost town, it is also an environment that gives you a real feeling of heritage and authenticity.

Especially after living so many years in Dubai, where everything is artificial, a stroll through some withered ruins can feel quite refreshing.


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