From a distance, Jazirat Al Hamra looks like the remnants of a war-ravaged town. The homes of those who once lived here are falling apart at the seams, ceilings are caving in under the weight of time and abandonment, and even the trees have been left to rot.
There’s no sign of life, except for the odd gecko and the birds that have made nests in any crevice they can find, and there’s a deathly silence about the place that’s enough to give even the hardiest of visitors a chill.
Abandoned buildings aren’t an uncommon sight in the UAE; investment for construction disappears as quickly as it comes, so derelict, half-finished hotels and apartment blocks are strewn all over the country. But this ghost town is a little different – this one has a history.
Jazirat Al Hamra was once a thriving fishing village on an island off the shores of Ras Al Khaimah, where in the 1830s most of the 200-strong population were involved in pearl fishing.