Al Bidya Village
Al Bidya is small but a very interesting village in Fujairah, that takes us back to the history of United Arab Emirates to the 15th century. This village is an ideal place for history and archaeology lovers who are visiting or living in UAE. Al Bidya is sometimes referred as Al Badiyah or Al Bidyah but thankfully they all sound similar so when you want to ask any locals about the place, you will not have any confusion. Al Bidya is also highly famous because of the presence of the oldest mosque in UAE.
It takes around 1 hour 45 minutes from Dubai to Al Bidya and 3 hours from Abu Dhabi to Al Bidya by car. From main Fujairah City, it will take you around 40 minutes to reach Al Bidya village. It is considered that Al Bidya has always been home to the fishing and livestock community. The village has remains of a fort, ruins of old houses, watchtowers, tombs and market stalls where arts and crafts are sold as souvenirs and decoration pieces.
Attractions in Al Bidya Village
Al Bidya Mosque
Al Bidya Mosque is the most famous attraction in this area because of its unusual architecture and mysterious origins. Al Bidya Mosque is also the oldest surviving mosque in UAE which was constructed around 1446 according to the archaeological findings. The interesting thing is that nobody knows who built this mosque. There is no history and no evidence that can confirm who built the mosque and the archaeologists have also presented an estimate that it might be built in 1446. There are ruins of walls of some houses around the mosque which also indicate to the same era.
Al Bidya Mosque is located in the hillside between the Gulf and Hajar Mountains and is built with mud and stones that were taken from the sea. This mosque is very dear for the residents and a great attraction for tourists as the place and the area around it creates a beautiful contrast with the futuristic skyscrapers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. AL Bidya Mosque has fewer domes than other mosques of UAE, each of the dome is supported by a central pillar. The mosque is beautifully maintained at its original condition from the past while it is equipped with modern lighting and air-conditioning.
Al Bidya Mosque was officially recognized in 2003 after the restoration works started. The site attracts thousands of tourists, especially in winter season starting from September. Visitors must be dressed modestly to respect the mosque environment and they are allowed inside the mosque after mid-day.
Portuguese Fort in Fujairah
Al Bidya Village also has remains of a Portuguese fort that has been discovered by a team of Australian Archaeologists. The fort was initially identified by a map from the 16th century where the fort was named as Libidia. The walls of the fort were built using the stones that were taken from the nearby tower. The walls of the fort are 60 meters long and create a square shape which has tower on every corner. Today, the walls of Al Bidya Fort stand at a height of up to one meter. Archaeologists found many other objects including the pottery that dates back to the 17th and 18th century. Interestingly, The Portuguese who built this fort, also mentioned Al Bidya Mosque in their drawings and documents of the history.
Al Bidya Towers
Al Bidya towers were created as the watchtowers for the fort that was build by Portuguese. Out of four the two towers remain very prominent and both of them have a different design. The upper tower tends to be elliptical in shape while the lower tower is round. The upper part of both the towers is plastered which creates a contrast of colors and can be identified from a distance. You can go near these towers but cannot enter inside.
The Tombs of the Village
Al Bidya Toms are the ancient graves which are located in the village near the fort. Archaeologists suggest that these tombs date back to 2nd millennium BC.