Discovering the old Al Badiyah Mosque
Nowadays, the United Arab Emirates is one of the most popular destinations for tourists looking for a sensational experience. People want to visit UAE for the futuristic architecture, the extreme luxury, the possibility to ski in the middle of the desert, practice many other activities, shopping in the biggest malls of the world, and the amazing beaches. Usually, when we talk about UAE, we immediately think about the richness and the two most popular places: Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The country has other 5 emirates ( UAE is composed of 7 Emirates), where the luxury and modernity are not so evident, and people live in an easier way following the cultural traditions.
We decided to head to the Fujairah Emirate to visit a fascinating religious place: Al Badiyah Mosque. After driving along the Fujairah-Dibba road, halfway between the popular east coast tourist spots of Khor Fakkan and Al Aqah, we got to the mosque. Al Badiyah was built in a small village on the Fujairah rocky coast, and it is the oldest place of worship in the country.
Also known as Ottoman Mosque, this small rectangular-shaped structure lies on 53 square meters. It was built using materials available in the area: mainly stones of various sizes and mud bricks coated in many layers of whitewashed plaster. The mosque has a distinctive structure, and its amazing feature is the roof. It was made with four domes rests on only one pillar without any wooden or iron bars, and there are no minarets. The exact details about who built the mosque and the small community who lived here are still unknown. A team of Australian researchers performed a radio-carbon analysis revealing that the holy site dates back to 1446 AD. The only other historical evidence for its age are the towers of a Portuguese fort, built behind the mosque more than 200 years ago, where we had a wonderful view of the area.
If you visit Fujairah emirate and pass by the Al Badiyah Mosque, it’s worth visiting it! We met Imam Hafiz, who invited us to visit the little mug mosque. The mosque interior was fascinating, with double-winged wooden doors and different small decorative windows. Also, some cube-shaped spaces were carved into the thick wall, where old copies of the Holy Quran and other books were stored. The mosque also had a small Mihrab, where the Imam calls to pray and a Minbar, a pulpit where the Friday sermon is said.
Getting there: the best way to reach the mosque is by car. It is 40 km from Fujairah, driving along the E99. On the way back, you can stop in Kor Fakkan, a town famous for its long beaches and beautiful promenade. You can also get there by taxi (haggle the fare for the round trip, which could be around 130 AED) or bus (the stop is located next to Lulu Hypermarket at Lulu Mall, ticket around 12 AED). From Dubai, you can reach Fujairah without any issue catching the RTA bus for 25 AED.