Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jazirat al-Hamra: Ghost Town

While Visiting Ras-Al Khaima, I was staying in beautiful island of Al Hamra Village. The Royal Breeze apartments were next to the beach and Marina club. Everyday I used to see a bunch of brown villages from my balcony with almost no movement and human presence.
Ras Al Khaima
Baffled with this, when I enquired my Driver, he told me about an uninhabited Ghost town. Now I was excited as hell to go there. considering my tastes with graveyards and other scary places.
After Sunset there is almost no activity other than a Ship going past or some cars doing off roading. There is also a port near by.
Welcome effect
This place is Jazirat al-Hamra, or the Red Island, located in Ras al Khaimah.
Ghost Town of RAK
It is also known as the ghost town. After doing a lot of research over internet I was not able to find many convincing article about this place. Some have suggested that this town is haunted, hence abandoned, and has remained uninhabited and neglected since the beginning of century.
Once build by Za'ab tribe of coastal Ras Al Khaimah, this place goes back to 14th century. This small coastal town was mainly a Pearl Fishing village and was occupied by Hadhr or Coastal Bedouins. Some suggests that due to economic crisis and decline of natural Pearl Industry, the Hadhrs were forced to migrate, deserting this town trading off for a better place in search of better living. Since then this peninsular village is not in living conditions. They have left their mosque, watch towers,houses etc behind just to crumble away in history. 
Jazirat protected
Another theory suggests presence of Jinns and other evil spirits.

"Flanked by RAK's largest luxury projects, including the Al Hamra Hotel and Village, a Dh800 million water park, Dana Island and Mina al Arab, the historic village includes some of Ras al Khaimah's desired waterfront property. As the only preserved village in the UAE and possibly the entire Gulf, from the time before oil was discovered, it is an archaeological jewel, a sandcastle village, its houses built of coral stone and bricks made of sand and seashells. The emirate's archaeologists believe the site has been inhabited since at least the 16th century.
Yet to the families who lived there, elbowed out by progress, Jazirat al Hamra is not just a symbol of the Emirates' past or future, it is their home and identity. Although they live in more modern housing nearby, most families still own the houses they abandoned 40 years ago and are reluctant to sell them to developers. "This is a place of old memories," says Aamna bint Qadeeb al Zaabi, Aisha's daughter. "No matter how much money they offer, it cannot be bought. This is our history.""1

Finally after so much talks and time over internet , I decided to go with my camera to capture the crumbling history of Middle East.
Apparition Walk Alone
Al Jazeerah
The First thing you will  notice is the peace and calm of this place. The first building was like a open courtyard with rooms around it.
Door Ajar
Old Ruins
The walls are of mud and brick now merged with sea shells and corals. They look so mesmerizing and gives a look that they were immersed inside waters for quite some time. 
Looks like most of the houses were built from coral rag, the roofs were constructed from palm trunks. The walls of the oldest buildings have larger pieces of coral.
Wall of shells
Coral wall

However I also found out some newer built buildings with cement and stones and to my surprise these buildings were numbered. I believe there were some restoration done by the UAE government.
Access to RAK old town
Grassy ruins


House number 10
Shattered dreams
Further ahead there was a Mosque. It was empty and destroyed with cracks all over , as if it was a victim of EarthQuake.

Cracks in Minar
Mosque of Ghost Town
Once upon a time inside a Mosque
Top Mosque
All the iron/metal objects were rusted.
There was a sense of spookiness inside the buildings, the crumbles staircases, broken windows or doors.
I couldn't see a single soul out there.
Monochrome Bricks
While wandering around I came across the central figure, a magnificent watch tower. 
Iconic Ghost town
It looked so fragile yet so photogenic that I sat there admiring the effort in its destroyed beauty. It was indeed splendid.
Wall and Holes
Sand and Wall

There were wells and rooms of smaller sizes. The central Ghost town looked pretty old, while the outer building were moderately new and had electric switches. 
Still Far
Frame RAK

Window of Mosque
Gateway to Ruins
Wind Holes
I was bewildered when I saw a doll head, it was ghosty and horryfying. I didnt touch and clicked the picture.
It might sound too probable to someone who might not beilive in ghosts.
Head Shot
but for me it was a quick shot and a nice picture.
Lonely tower

Watchtower of Ras Al Khaima

There was another Mosque, at the other side, equally deserted and abandoned.


Finally Sun was setting off and I had a good time shooting this town.

This is my nephew who went along

Fashion inside Ghost Towm
Ghost town shooting
Say Goodbye!!

Sunset Time


1 comment:

Himanshu Sahay said...

Great post! Loved reading about the history of the place and seeing the pictures we took! Nice to see my picture in the end too haha.