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Khor Fakkan

Khor Fakkan (or Khawr Fakkan') is a town in the emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Located along the Gulf of Oman, Khor Fakkan is geographically surrounded by the emirate of Fujairah. It is a natural deep water port that is now a major container terminal.


In 1580 the Venetian jeweller Gasparo Balbi noted "Chorf" in a list of places on the east coast of the United Arab Emirates, which is considered by historians to indicate Khor Fakkan. The Portuguese built a fort at Khor Fakkan, which was a ruin by 1666.

The log book of the Dutch vessel the Meerkat mentions this fort and another one, describing "Gorfacan" as place on a small bay, with about 200 small houses built from date branches, near the beach. It refers to a triangular Portuguese fortress on the northern side, in ruins, and a fortress on a hill on the southern side, also in ruins, without garrison or artillery. As well as date palms, the Meerkat's log also mentions fig trees, melons, watermelons and myrrh. It notes several wells with "good and fresh water" used for irrigation.

Khor Fakkan

One reason suggested for the ruinous state of the forts is an invasion by the Persian navy, under the control of Omani Sheikh Muhammad Suhari, in 1623. Suhari, facing a Portuguese counter-attack, withdrew to the Portuguese forts, including that of Khor Fakkan. When the Persians were expelled, the Portuguese commander Ruy Freire urged the people of Khor Fakkan to remain loyal to the Portuguese crown, and established a Portuguese customs office as well.

In 1737, long after the Portuguese had been expelled from Arabia, the Persians again invaded Khor Fakkan, with the help of the Dutch, during their intervention in the Omani civil war. In 1765 Khor Fakkan belonged to a sheikh of the Qawasim, Sharjah's ruling family, according to the German traveller Carsten Niebuhr.

Thereafter it belonged to the Zaab tribe.


Khor Fakkan has a long history of human settlement. 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 harbour.

One site of interest is the Rifaisa Dam, in the mountains of Khor Fakkan. This is believed to have been built over a village, and when the water is very still, the tops of the old houses are still visible.


Khor Fakkan is a popular tourism spot, surrounded with huge mountains and attractive beaches. Its most famous hotel is the Oceanic. It also features coral outcrops suitable for diving and snorkeling. Tourism is somewhat held back by Sharjah's ban on alcohol.

The fish, fruit and vegetable souq is located at the southern end of the corniche.

Al Wurrayah Falls is reachable by four-wheel-drive around 4.5km north of the Oceanic hotel.