At a distance of 7 km from Al Rams and 37 km from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, the Dhayah Fort is an ancient hill fort situated to the north of Ras Al Khaimah city, UAE. Located off the Al Rams Road, it is one of the popular forts in UAE and among the must include places in Ras Al Khaimah Tour Packages.
With a backdrop of steep mountains, the 16th-century Dhayah Fort was built in a strategic hilltop position facing the gulf to defend the region from attack by the British. As a defensive military tower, the Dhayah Fort played an important role in the history of Ras Al-Khaimah. Made out of mud and brick, this fort has served as the last point of resistance during the British attacks in 1819 against the tribes of Ras Al Khaimah. After the 1819 destruction, it was restored (in the 1830s) to its present form on the remains of the old fort and was used by the Sheikh until 1964. Later, the fort served as a prison before opening its doors to the public in 2001 as an archaeological site.
The fort comprises of two mudbrick towers built on top of a man-made platform, connected with a perimeter wall. Several stones in the center of this platform indicate an earlier presence of semi-permanent buildings (Areesh huts), which supplemented the towers. The fort served as a short term defense structure during attacks on the oasis. It could not be used domestically as it lacked a cistern for water storage. Instead, it was part of the broader defense system of Dhayah, together with several watchtowers and a second fort at the foot of the hill. This was used as a retreat, where the people living and working in the palm gardens could gather with their animals to defend themselves in times of danger. Furthermore, single watchtowers built in the palm gardens themselves helped to secure and guard the area.
It is the only hilltop fort still existing in the UAE. One has to climb the steep zigzag staircase to reach the top of the fortress, which is well worth the panoramic view of the surroundings. The view of the Hajar Mountains, green date-palm oasis and the city area is breathtaking.
Timings: 9 AM - 5 PM, Closed on Friday & Saturday