Memorable Journey of the Union tour an eye-opener

Ten-day student trip takes in notable sites around UAE.

Journey of the Union participants raise the flag after stopping at the Emirate’s oldest fort and mosque at Fujairah. Lee Hoagland / The National
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Twenty-eight students from across the Emirates visited some historical sites in Ajman and Fujairah on Saturday, before returning to Abu Dhabi to celebrate Tuesday’s National Day as part of the Journey of the Union tour.

On the ninth day of their 10-day tour of the UAE, the youngsters first visited Ajman Museum before arriving in Fujairah.

As with many of the other students, Mariam Al Shamsi admired the Al Yazra’a technique in the museum where an example of an old  irrigation technique was displayed.

“Ajman Museum is unique and huge, especially when you can observe the old rooms of the Ruling Family as it was once the ruler’s palace. I was impressed when I saw the old irrigation technique that they used and how they used to take water from deep wells,” said the 15-year-old from Ajman.

“We couldn’t spend much time in Fujairah Museum, but I enjoyed the tour and I learnt some historical information about my country. I marvelled at how in old times they used to be buried beside their personal belongings.”

Humad Al Shamsi from Ras Al Khaimah also admired the old  irrigation technique and the variety of the displays in the museum that showcase ancestral history and heritage.

“I liked the Al Yazra’a technique and the illustration of it in Ajman Museum. I loved the variety of the old things displayed here in Fujairah, such as the old weapons that were used in hunting, the old cutleries made of ceramics, the things that showed the way people lived in the past,” said the 16-year-old.

The museum features a large number of artefacts that were discovered in different parts of the Emirate and the building was expanded to acommodate the collection, according to Huda Rashed, a Fujairah Museum tour guide. “The museum was expanded in 1998 and consists of two large halls for antiques and three halls for heritage.

“We have very rare collections, including ancient weapons and costumes, as well as utensils used in the past,” she said.

The students then had the chance to visit the oldest and possibly smallest mosque in the UAE, Al Badiyah Mosque .

Upon their arrival at the mosque, the students were thrilled to witness a National Day celebration being held in front of the historical site.

Once they entered the site the boys rushed to participate in a traditional Al Yola dance that started upon their arrival.

“I never expected to find the National Day celebration here. I was really surprised like the rest. We participated in an Al Yola traditional dance holding a stick and we danced to the rhythms of the drums,” said Mansoor Al Marzoq, 15. “This is my first visit to Al Badiyah Mosque and I really enjoyed it. The weather is amazing.”

The students then went up the hill to explore the lookout towers, holding the UAE flag and singing the national anthem before doing Al Maghreb prayer in the mosque.

“As part of our national belonging we raised our flag and sang the national anthem, it was an indescribable moment,” said a Mr Mansoor from Dubai.

“The mosque has a unique structure inside and out with a ventilation system that keeps the inside cold during the hot weather,” said student Ali Al Shawi from Umm Al Quwain.

“I encourage all the students to participate in this initiative next year. I learnt so many things about my country’s achievements and history and made new friends.”

rhaza@thenational.ae