The Emirate of Ajman is situated on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, extending over a distance of 16 Kilometres long, between the emirates of Umm Al-Qiwain and Sharjah. The area of the emirate is 259 Sq. Km., equivalent to 0.3% of the country’s total area, excluding the islands. The population is estimated to be 123,000 for 1996.
The town of Ajman lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. It comprises the Ruler’s office, companies, banks and commercial markets. The port of Ajman is located along a natural creek which penetrates the town.
The two major regions in the emirate are Masfout, an agricultural area, lying at a distance of 110 Km. long at the South east, and Manama located 60 Km. to the east.
Just eight kilometres north of Sharjah lies Ajman, the smallest of the seven emirates but with a charm all its own. Ajman has the distinction of possessing the Emirates’ largest boat-building yards. Its craftsmen have always fashioned the characteristic dhows and boums that ply the Arabian Gulf’s water with the same techniques their forefathers used, and their forefathers before them, all without blueprints.
History sits visibly in Ajman: traces of the old town are still visible, as in the shape of the fine old watchtower at the town’s entrance, and the large fort in the town’s centre. Yet Ajman – which now is the northernmost part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman coastal urban belt – is in no way resting on its considerable history. Its dynamic leaders, H.H. Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman, and H.E. Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman, have set into motion plans that look to make the emirate a significant economic player in the Gulf region. The gleaming new Dh 10 million Ajman Centre has quickly become another prime trade fair venue in the Emirates.
The Centre is seen as a turning point in the development of the emirate and will be a major attraction for cultural and sports activities as well. Ajman’s corniche is being developed too, even as in the background a tower for the Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry shoots up. And now, the emirate plans to set up a gigantic Dh 2 billion tourism and entertainment city with luxury facilities. To be built at Al-Zawra as part of a consortium with international infrastructure corporations, the fun city will include a hotel, furnished apartments, amusement facilities, shopping centres and parks.
Driving into Ajman city from Sharjah brings you into the Corniche, with a fine sandy beach on one side and the city spread out on the other. Within Ajman city the gleaming new Etisalat Tower is an instant landmark to navigate by.
Note the broad new avenues, particularly the one from the Sheikh Khalifa Hospital to the Al Humaidiyah Road: these are recent and speak of the economic well-being of the city. Not far from the old waterfront are the Ajman Centre — a trade fair and exposition favourite — and the Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tower. Not to be missed is the dhow building yard, the biggest in the Emirates.
From building traditional dhows to the larger trading boums, the yard also crafts the speedsters that take part in the Dubai Powerboat meets. The mosque built for the Late Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi by his son and the current Ruler of Ajman, H.H. Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, is another landmark, as is the Ajman museum, housed in the old fort.
The emirate’s mountain villages are Manama near Dhaid — which is the nearer — and Masfut which is next to Hatta, a part of the Dubai emirate. Manama, which literally means the “sleeping place”, also has a small old fort worth visiting while Masfut is known for its colourful marble.