Dubai-Sharjah road before the Union: 'High tide would flood route at times'

The seven emirates were separate states and roads weren’t tarred, but hardened for vehicles to ply on


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Sat 2 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 3 Dec 2023, 3:01 PM

Before the UAE was established, the Trucial States had limited road connectivity.

Mohammed Al Ghazali, an Emirati national recalled a time when the road connecting Dubai and Sharjah was sometimes submerged under the high tide of the sea.

“I travelled to Sharjah and other Emirates once a month. Somewhere near Mamzar, the road was close to the seashore. During hightides and rough seas, the roads were submerged in water and we had to wait for a while for the water to submerge to proceed with our journey,” said Al Ghazali, adding that now the UAE has the best roads in the world.

“We had to plan our journey ahead [of time] if we wanted to move from one emirate to [an]other,” said Al Ghazali.

Untarred roads

Before the Union, the seven emirates were separate states and roads weren’t tarred, but were hardened for vehicles to ply on. “The roads weren’t tarred before the union between the emirates. The road leading to Abu Dhabi was hardened and sandy. After the Union in 1971, BinLadin construction company from Saudi Arabia got the contract to construct Sheikh Zayed Road which was two lanes on the both sides,” said Al Ghazali.

"All thanks to the founding fathers and the leaders of the country. They have made the Emirates the best place on earth to live in,” said Al Ghazali.

Carts not cars

Al Ghazali reminisced the time when there were donkeys that were used to move goods from one place to another. “In the 1950’s and early '60s, goods were transported by carts with the help of animals. However, during my days, we could see that in remote places and not in cities,” said Al Ghazali.

Driving license

Al Ghazali had different cars, sedans, as well as an SUV. The most preferred car to move between the emirates were the bigger ones. “I got my license in the year 1968 and my license number is 2260, which means I am one of the earliest driving license holders of Dubai. Now, the number is in millions,” said Al Ghazali.

Reflecting on the momentous day when the leaders of the Trucial States signed the historic document, Al Ghazali described a sense of excitement in the air. Despite life in Dubai being simple on that regular day, he noted that it marked a joyous occasion for everyone.

Lunch with royals

Al Ghazali was employed at Dubai Petroleum Company from 1973 for more than 30 years, holding many different positions. During his job, he had the privilege of sharing dining tables with the rulers during lunch and dinner. He recounted the loving nature of Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid.

“The Almighty has gifted us with leaders who work for the people. Their doors are open for all of us. I have had lunch and dinner a couple of times with the leaders,” recollected Al Ghazali, mentioning the inclusive nature of the leaders.

Entrepreneurial journey

“During my tenure at Dubai Petroleum, I travelled across the world. I was fascinated by the art of carpet making in Iran, Turkey, India, and Pakistan,” said Al Ghazali, adding that handmade Iranian carpets are renowned worldwide for their exquisite craftsmanship, intricate designs, and vibrant colours which have a history that span over centuries.

“Liking for this art grew in me and I always returned with a few carpets from Iran. This gave me an idea to start a carpet business in Dubai,” said Al Ghazali.

Royal clientele

In palatial halls and spaces of Royal Palaces in the region, Al Ghazali has found a place for his passion – hand-woven Iranian luxury carpets. “My carpets have been to homes and palaces of Royals in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and other neighbouring nations,” said Al Ghazali.

He opened his second store in Taj Palace Hotel in Deira. “But due to the pandemic, I had to shut the store,” said Al Ghazali. He currently has a store at Furniture Market in Ras Al Khor with thousands of different types of Iranian, Indian, and Turkish carpets.


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