Resistance Monument

In September 1507, the coastal town of Khor Fakkan was invaded by the Portuguese but the inhabitants resisted and fought to defend their home town with all that they had. Lives were lost and atrocities committed. It was the practice of the Portuguese at that time to cut off prisoners’ noses, ears and sometimes hands.

It is in the honour of those strong-willed Khor Fakkan townspeople that the Resistance Tower was built under instruction of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.

Sheikh Sultan said at the laying of the memorial foundation stone, “It is a blessed day that we laid the foundation stone of a building beautiful in design and great in the meaning it carries, raising its head at the entrance of the city of Khorfakkan to tell the complete history of this city to the whole world. This building will include a park for those who come to Khorfakkan seeking pleasure and knowledge. This building will add beauty to the beauty of the city and the memorial building standing tall on this mountain will be in the shape of a helmet to symbolize the resistance in the city.” (Source

The Portuguese, under Governor Alfonso be Albuquerque, were taking towns all round the Indian Ocean and Gulf coasts, including Julphar, or modern day Ras al Khaimah, in order to monopolise trade in the Indian Ocean.

In Khor Fakkan, you can visit the site of the Portuguese Fort near the sea front and also learn more about the history of Khor Fakkan the other eastern enclaves of Sharjah at the nearby Hisn Museum.


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Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum and Islamic Botanical Gardens

Although many people visit the Arabian Wildlife Centre, not many seem to visit the other parts of the Desert Park. As with all of Sharjah’s museums, they’re very well done and you’ll notice something different with each visit.

The Natural History Museum takes you on a journey through millions of years of history of the area of Sharjah before exploring fossils, different stones, etc. As it covers so much, I find it’s a place we return to again and again depending on what topic is being covered at school and there’s something for all ages.

During your visit, you will learn about the beginning of the Earth, tectonic plates, creatures from long ago, fossils, marine life, fungi and many other topics. For younger children, the dinosaur exhibition is usually their favourite part.

It has a lot of interactive stations where you can test, for example, the difference of a human, goat and camel foot walking on the sand, the effect of black and white on temperature, the effect of wind direction on sand dune formations.

Sharjah is not only rich in its love of knowledge, science and culture, but is also known for its adherence to Islam and many of their events have an Islamic flavour to them. And so reference is made throughout the exhibition to verses from the Quran and early Islamic scholars and scientists. This may come as a surprise to non-Muslims as it is a common misconception that there is a contradiction between Islam and science.

Once you leave the natural history museum, you’ll pass some of Sheikh Sultan’s butterfly collection and enter the botanical museum which has a lot of interactive stations. At the time of writing, halls G8 and G9 (see floor plan above) are closed for work.

There is a gift shop at the entrance to the Botanical Museum where you can buy science kits and related items. There is a small cafe which now only sells ice creams and cold drinks and isn’t always manned.

You may want to have a rest, picnic or play before moving on to your next stop. The grassy area continues over to the right so there’s plenty room to find a quiet spot.

The next stop is the Islamic Botanical Gardens. Again reference is made throughout to the Quran as many plants are mentioned in its verses. It also make mention of traditional medicine, particularly in the early Islamic days.

Notice the geometrical designs, the water and canals, all a main feature of Islamic gardens.

There is a cafeteria which serves coffee and nice cakes, muffins and savoury snacks. There is also a wall display within the cafeteria.

Of course, if you have time left, you can go on to the Wildlife Centre and the Children’s Petting Zoo or save it for another day. That will be covered later, but in the meantime, here’s a little taster.

  • Entrance to the Desert Park including all museums, Islamic garden, Wildlife Centre and Petting Zoo: Adults 21 dhs, children under 12 free. School trips 2dhs.
  • Sunday – Thursday 9am -6:30pm
  • Friday – 2pm – 6:30pm
  • Saturday – 11am – 6:30pm
  • Tuesday: closed
  • Location – Dhaid Rd/Airport Rd intersection 9.
  • Cafeteria selling hot meals and snacks in Wildlife Centre with a view of the outdoor animals.