After our visit of Qasr al-Zabba, a short drive towards the north takes us to Rams. From a distance, we see our next destination rise above the surrounding palm gardens and village: Dhayah Fort. A drive on a narrow road takes us right to the foot of the steep hill on which it is located. When we reach the end of the road, we see a fence around the entrance. We get out anyway, and walk through an opening, and past some work in progress, until we reach the foot of the stairs. It is the middle of a summer day, and sweat is already dripping from our bodies onto the ground when we start climbing the concrete steps. The stairs meander around the hill, and a last steep stretch takes us right to the rectangular building which is the entrance of Dhayah Fort. We walk through the door which we find open and step onto a small courtyard.
Several big boulders lie on the ground, and a small tree barely rises above them. It is hard to see any life in it: it looks scorched by the unforgiving sun, and bends over like a very old man. On the other side of the courtyard, we see a smaller building. This is it, this is Dhayah Fort, the highest hilltop fort in the UAE. Well, a reconstruction of the original fort, restored in the 1990s. We walk back to the entrance building, and climb up to the rooftop using footholds and squeezing ourselves through an opening in the corner of the roof. We now get an even better view of the surrounding area. The plantations, the barren mountains that run just behind the fort, and views towards the sea. There have been fortifications on this hill since many centuries. The area has been inhabited for some five thousand years.
What is harder to imagine, is that Dhayah Fort was severely damaged by the British army in 1819. There was a siege of a few days, in which the army bombarded the small fort in which around an incredible 800 people were seeking protection. In the end, the walls of the fort were breached and the occupants surrendered. For a short while, the Union Jack flew over the fort. The British went on to destroy more fortifications and vessels, to eventually extend their influence over the region. Eventually, this would lead to the establishment of present-day UAE. We drink some more water before we start heading down again - body fluids being squeezed out of our bodies by the merciless sun above, sweat dripping heavily from our bodies and clothes onto the concrete steps. The first thing we do when we are back at our car, is to put the airco to the max.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Dhayah Fort (United Arab Emirates). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Dhayah Fort. Read more about this site.