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Khor Fakkan

Khor Fakkan is a city and exclave of the Emirate of Sharjah, located on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), facing the Gulf of Oman, and geographically surrounded by the Emirate of Fujairah.

The city, the second largest on the east coast after Fujairah City, is set on the bay of Khor Fakkan, which means “Creek of Two Jaws”. It is the site of Khor Fakkan Container Terminal, the only natural deep-sea port in the region and one of the major container ports in the UAE. The Port of Khor Fakkan faces the Emirate of Sharjah’s eastern seaboard, extending connections with Asia and the Far East. This port is one of the Emirate’s three ports.

It is also a popular spot among domestic tourists due to its white sand beaches and coral reefs that attract many marine life enthusiasts. Khor Fakkan beach lies to the north of the center of the town.

History of Khor Fakkan

Khorfakkan has a long history of human settlement. There is evidence of post holes from the wooden uprights of the traditional barasti huts known as areesh, similar to those found at Tell Abraq which dates from the 3rd to 1st millennium BC. Excavations by a team from the Sharjah Archaeological Museum have identified 34 graves and a settlement belonging to the early-mid 2nd millennium BC. These are clustered on rock outcrops overlooking the harbor.

Around 1500, Duarte Barbosa described it as a village “around which are gardens and farms in plenty”. The town was captured by the Portuguese Empire in the 16th century by naval commander General Afonso de Albuquerque and was referred to as Corfacão. It was part of a serial of fortified cities that the Portuguese used to control access to the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, including Muscat, Sohar and Hormuz.

At the dawn of the 16th century, it and its port were defended by a wide walled belt facing the land, closing the gorge that, in the mountain range parallel to the coast, allows communication with the interior. In this monumental structure a single door was torn, defended by a tower. The ensemble was responsible for safeguarding eventual tribal attacks.

Geography and climate

Khor Fakkan lies on the east coast of the UAE, between the Indian Ocean and the Shumayliyyah or Western Hajar Mountains. The bay of Khor Fakkan is north-east facing and is protected from prevailing winds by a jetty serving the container terminal. Tourism is well developed thanks to sandy beaches and the coral reefs that attract many divers. Khor Fakkan Beach lies to the north of the center of the town.

From November to April Khor Fakkan is sunny and warm during the day; the evenings are cool and humidity low. Daytime temperatures range from 18 to 30 °C (64 to 86 °F). One may expect rain and tropical storms between January and March. The climate warms from May to September with the high temperature at noon in July and August reaching 40 °C (104 °F). The nights too are warm, with the temperature reaching 36 °C (97 °F), with high humidity.

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