Abu Dhabi archaeology: The traditional wonders discovered within the Arabian desert


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(CNN) — The UAE could have solely simply celebrated its fiftieth anniversary of independence however Abu Dhabi has a centuries-old previous.

The biggest of the emirates boasts an array of UNESCO World Heritage websites in addition to a few of the nation’s most well-preserved forts which showcase its key geographical location over the centuries, telling the story of the Emirati individuals’s connection to each land and sea.

A brief drive to the oasis city of Al Ain is the place a few of the most magical gems of the bygone generations come to life, a residing museum paying homage to the nation’s Bedouin roots. It is a should for guests to the UAE for a real style of its genuine tradition and heritage.

Referred to as the Backyard Metropolis, Al Ain was as soon as an important inexperienced oasis on the caravan route from the UAE to Oman and is now dwelling to a number of UNESCO protected websites.

Listed here are a few of Abu Dhabi’s key archaeological and historic treasures.

Qasr Al Hosn

The 18th-century Hosn Palace, or Qasr al Hosn, started as a single watchtower within the 18th century and, because the advanced grew, finally turned the seat of energy till the late Sixties.

“There are lovely tales in regards to the palace informed by people who used to stay round this place,” says Nataly Leslie, a tour information within the emirate. “The palace door was very a lot open for individuals to speak to the sheiks and inform them their issues.”

At present, the palace stays a key attraction not just for vacationers however Emiratis alike, who come and sit within the palace espresso store to savor the place they’ve heard their ancestors communicate of so fondly.

The palace additionally showcases native tradition with common exhibitions and occasions.

Al Ain Oasis

Al Ain, Abu Dhabi

Al Ain is dwelling to 100 sorts of date palm.

Barry Neild/CNN

The primary of the UAE’s UNESCO websites was the dramatic Al Ain Oasis.

Set within the coronary heart of the place referred to as The Backyard Metropolis, the positioning dates again greater than 4,000 years and is proof of one of many first irrigation methods of contemporary instances.

The system, referred to as “falaj,” took water from the close by Hajar Mountains by way of a sequence of slim waterways nonetheless seen immediately.

Guests can take curated strolling trails by means of the positioning which covers over 1,200 hectares and accommodates greater than 147,000 date palm timber and 100 sorts of date.

The centuries-old falaj system was solely up to date within the Twentieth century with the introduction of pumps. An eco-center can be accessible for guests to realize a deeper understanding of the traditional Bedouin irrigation methods.

Bidaa Bint Saud

A treasure trove for archaeology fanatics, Bidaa Bint Saud, an historic caravan web site, is situated 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Al Ain.

The fascinating space which as soon as had an enormous neighborhood of farmers extending all the best way to the northern emirates, all using the realm’s community of falaj irrigation methods, incorporates a uncommon Iron Age constructing and 5,000-year-old Bronze Age tombs in addition to the towering Gharn Bint Saud.

This 40-meter-tall rock rises above the panorama with a number of historic stone tombs on the prime. A number of of the discoveries from the realm equivalent to pottery, dagger blades, jewellery and bronze arrowheads, at the moment are on show on the Al Ain Nationwide Museum.

Hili Archaeological Park

Courting again to the Bronze Age (3200 BCE to 1300 BCE) and Iron Age (1300 BCE to 300 BCE), this space exhibits proof of the traditional life as soon as dwelling within the space’s deserts.

Archaeologists have found villages, burial grounds and agricultural infrastructure from what’s now known as the Umm an-Nar interval, named after the island off the coast of Abu Dhabi the place the stays of the tradition have been first found.

It’s also dwelling to the UAE’s largest assortment of tombs and buildings from this era.

Jebel Hafit Tombs

The five hundred tombs discovered on the base of Jebel Hafit (Hafit mountain) date again to the beginning of the Bronze Age. Now guests can camp on the historic web site in luxurious air-conditioned pods.

Along with being Abu Dhabi’s highest peak, Jebel Hafit (Hafit mountain) can be dwelling to round 500 5,000-year-old tombs which mark the beginning of the Bronze Age within the UAE.

First found by means of excavations again in 1959, archaeologists discovered ceramic vessels and copper artifacts within the igloo-like tombs which confirmed the significance of maritime commerce throughout the Arabian Gulf.

The only chamber tombs are a dramatic web site providing a window right into a time passed by.

Tour information Leslie calls this one in every of Abu Dhabi’s “hidden gems.”

“Most individuals do not find out about all these discoveries on this space,” she says. “Despite the fact that the UAE is a comparatively younger nation, it has historic findings that show that this space was as soon as a busy place the place historical past was made.”

Maqta Fort

This small however important fort on the gateway to Abu Dhabi’s foremost island was erected within the late 18th century utilizing primary supplies equivalent to coral stones, seashore rock and sand and its tower would guard and shield Abu Dhabi for a few years to return.

“Whereas Qasr al Hosn developed into a spot of nice significance for the native individuals, Maqta Fort turned a relaxation cease for individuals coming into Abu Dhabi,” says Leslie.

Al Ain Palace Museum

Al Ain Palace was once the home of the UAE's ruling family.

Al Ain Palace was as soon as the house of the UAE’s ruling household.

dudlajzov/Adobe Inventory

As soon as the house of the late Sheikh Zayed, the primary president of the UAE, Al Ain Palace was lived in by the ruling household till the Sixties earlier than they made the emirate’s metropolis their everlasting dwelling as Abu Dhabi’s foremost island transitioned right into a political and financial capital.

Guests can get a glimpse of life contained in the residence which stands as a reminiscence of the time earlier than oil was found within the mid-Twentieth century.

Although not “previous” in comparison with different websites within the emirate — the oldest constructing on the advanced is from 1937 — it’s manufactured from the normal supplies of the period, dotted with the normal courtyards which characterised such properties within the area throughout that interval.

Now a museum, guests can see the important hyperlinks between previous and current and admire Abu Dhabi’s speedy transformation from Bedouin life to trendy affluence.

“In case you are a fan of historical past and need to be taught in regards to the royal household and conventional structure of this time, that is the proper place to go, says Shamsa Al Naqbi, an Emirati tour information.

“It is an perception into the lifetime of the royal household, their rooms, the model of structure, gadgets they might use, so it is a very nice place to go to to see the true historical past of the UAE. It additionally actually exhibits the transition our ancestors made to the fashionable UAE we have now immediately.”

Sir Baniyas Island Church and Monastery

A bit off the overwhelmed monitor is Sir Baniyas Island within the Western Area which could be reached by boat or flight from Abu Dhabi by means of the Anantara resort, which manages the distant island’s tourism.

Found within the early Nineties, the church and monastery is the one pre-Islamic Christian web site present in UAE, defined Leslie. It is the supply of a whole lot of artifacts providing an interesting perception into life throughout this era.

“Like life within the UAE earlier than the invention of oil, the inhabitants of this settlement used the ocean as their supply of meals,” she stated. “In addition they saved animals like sheep and cattle and traded throughout the Arabian gulf and into the Indian ocean.”

Sir Baniyas Island is now a wildlife reserve, dwelling to a variety of protected animals from Arabian oryx to gazelle which guests can witness first-hand on safaris.


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