In 2017 The Ajman Murals Project was launched by Ajman Municipality and Planning Department. They can be found at various locations around Ajman, but all in close proximity.
By French artist Shuck2.
Location – above Choithram’s supermarket, Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid St.
By French Tunisian artist El Saeed.
This mural includes a quote of the Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan – “Our fathers and grandfathers have lived on this land and co-existed with its environment in land and sea, and realised, through nature and by delicate senses, the need to preserve and to take only as much as they needed, and to leave what future generations will find as a source of good and a fountain of giving.”
Location – junction of Ittihad St and Badr St
By Egyptian Dubai-born artist Ramy Elzaghawy.
Skip, one of the most famous horses of Ajman Stud.
Location – Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid St., near the junction with Al Zaher St
By Egyptian Dubai-born artist Diaa Allam.
This mural contains words form the poem Positive Energy written by the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Location – Mohammed Salem bu Khamis St.
By Sweden-based Julia Rio.
Location – Ajman Corniche.
By Emirati artist Fatima Al Ali.
Location – Ajman Municipality Building next to Lulu Hypermarket.
My grandparents lived in Hamriya near the sea. During the Second World War, ships stopped coming from other countries like India and people were hungry. My grandfather caught fish and my grandmother cut the fish into pieces and distributed it to people.
They later moved inland to Dhaid and had a farm there. There were no stores or markets in Dhaid at that time and they would have to go to Sharjah by camel to stock up on things like sugar. It would take a whole day to get there and another day to come back.
They grew things on the farm and also bred camels and sold them. (Umm Salem, Dhaid)
When I was little. I used to go with my grandfather to his farm and he milked the camels. The milk was frothy and he joked that it was camel ice cream. We took the milk, put freshly made ragag (wafer thin bread) in it, poured honey over it and ate it. We thought it was delicious! (Sara, Dhaid)
My father was a very wealthy man. He started from nothing, but through his hard work and smartness, he built a successful business. By the time I was at college, he owned several tall apartment and office buildings, but he told us we had to work for ourselves. We lived at home with our mother but otherwise we had to manage on our starter salaries (around 7000 dhs). We bought our own cars and paid for everything by ourselves. He told us that one day we would have his wealth when he died. In the meantime, we had to make ourselves by ourselves just like he did. He wasn’t being mean. He wanted us to understand the value of things and to feel the satisfaction of being successful by ourselves. I really appreciate what he did. It made me a better person. (Mohammed, Dubai)
I was born at home in a small village. At that time there was no recording of births, so I don’t know exactly when I was born, around 1967. At that time, people would say something like ‘he was born in the year of the big rain’. (Ahmed, Ajman)
Ajman is the smallest of the seven emirates at just 260 km sq and has a population of nearly a quarter of a million. Imagine that in 1980, the population numbered only 36,000.
The town was first settled by the Nuaim tribe around 1775 and is still ruled by the al Nuaimi family. It became a British protectorate in 1820 until it attained independence and became part of the new federation of the UAE in 1971. The main part lies between Sharjah and Umm al Quwain, however, it also has two enclaves inland, al Manama and Masfoot.
Al Manama is in the central mountainous area of the north. It was gifted in the early 20th century to Ajman as dowry when a Sheikha from Ajman married the ruler of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad al Sharqi.
There are two forts, the Red Fort and the White Fort, in the main town of Manama which were royal residences. Further down the road in the village of Naseem, Hassa Castle, a watchtower built in 1976, stands upon a small hill.
The Red Fort, Manama
Manama played a major role in saving the people of Ajman after the sudden collapse of the pearling industry in 1928. It has rich agricultural land which was already farmed at the time but then Shaikh Rashid, the ruler at the time, supported the farmers enabling them to make full use of the land and provide both food for Ajmanis and an income for the shaikhdom. The main crops were papaya and citrus fruits such as qumqat and limes. The Rohida tree also provided an income with its bark being sold to make medicine, its leaves and fruits sold as fodder and the rest sold as timber. Moreover, the area was rich in naturally produced honey.
The Trucial Scouts had a base in Manama. It is still standing and is now a training camp for the UAE army. Many of the young men do the first three months of their national service there.
Although just a small town, it has its own police, civil defence, health centre, etc. It is growing steadily as apartment blocks are being built, and new businesses such as burger and pizza cafes, gyms are opening.
The village of Naseem is part of Manama but is on the other side of the road from the main town. Originally a handful of houses, there are lots of new houses there now. It is surrounded by plains.
The weather there is hotter than coastal towns in the summer, but dry and much colder in the winter.
The other enclave, Masfoot, is also in a mountainous and richly agricultural area not far from Hatta. It has a population of around 6000, 90% of whom are UAE nationals originally from Bedu tribes. The area includes two villages, Muzaira and Subaigha and originally belonged to the al Nuaim tribe of Buraimi, however, it was seized by the Nuaims of Ajman in 1948 and has belonged to them ever since.
The Ajman Government has plans to develop Masfoot as a tourist destination. Its location in the mountains makes it a great place for those who love walking and exploring the great outdoors. As in many inland locations, there are archaeological sites going back around 5000 years.
Two structures of interest there are Masfoot Fort, dating back to the 19th century and Masfoot Gate built in 1961.
Back in Ajman, Ajman Museum is found within an original 18th century fort and is well worth a visit. Take a look at some photos here. Look out for a separate blog coming up on Ajman Museum.