Trip to the Enclave of the Enclave

I previously posted on the pages of these blog an explanation of the enclave of an enclave (or is that an enclave of an exclave?), by which a small part of the UAE, called Nahwa, is located in a small part of Oman called Madha, which is itself located in the UAE.

Some European readers of this blog made a visit to the UAE and asked if it would be possible to visit Nahwa — to which I responded, why not? We rocked up into Curzon’s Jeep and made our way east from Dubai, north of the the mountains of Fujairah, then turning south along the coast, looking on our right for the road into Oman.

The road to Narwah is by no means obvious. Driving down the eastern coast of the UAE, there are no clear signposts for either Madha or or Nahwa, so looking at the map, we guessed which was the proper turn. We knew we were on the right path when suddenly, all the buildings had Omani flags. There were no checkpoints, border crossings, or fences as we drove into Oman.

It took more time to get to Narwah, as this small town was truly hidden at the end of a maze of roads, and was made up of just a few houses, a palm oasis, a police station, and a large school, on which an enormous UAE flag was draped.

It was my hope that we could drive through Nahwa and head west back into the UAE, and maps indicated that a small road might exist. But it soon became clear that no such route was possible, as the paved road gave way to gravel, which gave way to makeshift route, which ended at a mountain face. We ultimately turned around and headed back the way we came.

Why does a small piece of Oman survive in the UAE, and why does a small piece of the UAE (of the Emirate of Sharjah) survive inside that enclave of Oman? It probably originates in the ethno-cartography carried out by the Trucial Omani Scouts in the 1960s that set the borders of the Emirates before the UAE was founded — but I must admit that I’ve found precious few reliable sources on this topic and would always welcome educated readers that have access to better sources (or memories).

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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