Ras Al-Khaimah (literally “The Top of the Tent”) is one of the emirates of the United Arabian Emirates. It covers an area of 656 square miles (1700 km²).
The emirate is ruled by Seikh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qassimi. It is in the northern part of the UAE bordering Oman. The emirate has a population of about 250,000 inhabitants. The city has two main sections, Old Ras Al Khaimah and Nakheel, on either side of the creek which flows through Ras Al Khaimah.
Straddling the northernmost tip of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ras al-Khaimah has a different aesthetic from most other Gulf cities. With light traffic; an unpolluted skyline; miles of untouched, white sandy beaches; and towering mountains, the emirate has always been an ideal escape, mixing striking scenery with its own, more laid-back rhythm. Yet, with a renewed drive for development over the past few years, RAK has put the focus squarely on becoming a serious investment destination. In a few years the emirate could become one of the top tourist draws in the Gulf.
A winding creek, Khor Ras al-Khaimah, divides the city of Ra’s al-Khaimah into two distinct areas connected by a large modern bridge. A road to the south also joins the two parts of the town along the water’s edge. The old fort housing Ras al-Khaimah National Museum and the old souq are located in the western section, Old Ras al-Khaimah whilst the eastern area, Al Nakheel, is where hotels, offices and modern shops are to be found.
Despite many new developments, the city retains an old-world sleepy atmosphere, accentuated by its low rise buildings. For centuries Ras al-Khaimah depended on seafaring, fishing and agriculture and these occupations are still important today, but with a distinctly modern twist.
A new port is being built to the west of the city and the coastline between the city and Umm al Qaiwain to the south is undergoing extensive development.