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Cultural Landscapes & Oases

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4,000 Years of History

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In and around this oasis are not only hectares of palm and fruit trees, but also a 4,000-year-old tomb, and historic mosques, fortified houses and a market
Nestled amidst the attractive patchwork of date palms, fruit orchards and cool pathways of Al Qattara Oasis are 19 historic buildings dating from the mid-18th century to early 20th century. These buildings include mosques, fortified houses and a Souq (traditional market). 


While the oasis has been farmed for at least 300 years, much older signs of human habitation include an excavated 14-metre long tomb just to the east of the oasis that contains a trove of ancient artefacts dating to between 4000 and 3000 years old.


The oasis and its haraat (historic villages at the edge of oases) present a profile of the religious, domestic and trading activities of the area. In the former haraat are a number of mosques; several residences, some featuring storage and living areas; three forts; the souq, and numerous plantations, many of which are still in operation.
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Al Qattara Tomb

The tomb is located on the eastern edge of the oasis and its excavation uncovered jewellery, including golden pendants, a large cache of weapons, stone vessels and pottery. These are displayed in the Al Ain Museum. This Bronze Age  site has been dated to between 2000 BCE and 1000 BCE, an important period in Al Ain’s cultural development.
 
 

Al Qattara Souq



The Al Qattara Souq dates from the 1930s. The original structure remains largely intact, although limited restoration was done on the building in 1976. The souq comprises a corridor approximately 35 metres long with 19 shops arranged on either side of a central covered passage. 
The building demonstrates the traditional building techniques of the oases – massively thick mud walls with limited small openings for light and air. It was roofed with palm logs and palm mats, and had mud plaster floors and walls.
 

Al Daramakah Watchtower



Al Daramakah Watchtower, built by one of the families living in the oasis to protect its vital water source, stands at the southeast corner of the oasis. The water is supplied by a falaj irrigation system, comprised of underground water canals that bring water from the Hajar Mountains, located several kilometres to the east.

Did You Know?

Nine of the 19 buildings in the oasis are mosques.

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Al Qattara Oasis

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Al Baladiya St, Heritage Village Road

Al Ain, Abu Dhabi

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