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Aflaj Al Ain - From the Past to the Present

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This field research publication traces the history of the falaj irrigation system in the United Arab Emirates and its origins in Al Ain

The ‘Garden City’ of Al Ain was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2011 for the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ of its Cultural Sites, which date to the Bronze Age and beyond. The city also holds another historic marvel – a network of underground water channels, known as aflaj, which were constructed from the Iron Age to irrigate agricultural land and bring water to settlements.

Aysha Khamis Ali Al Dhaheri of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi explains how the aflaj were engineered and constructed and their role in maintaining sustainable agriculture in the oases of Al Ain. She describes their role in the history of the region, their importance in the daily lives of Emiratis, as well as their cultural and social significance.

Through extensive interviews with older residents of Al Ain, aflaj and municipality officials, Ms Al Dhaheri also provides fascinating insights into life in Al Ain in days gone by, with many charming stories. The aflaj of the United Arab Emirates make up one of the oldest known irrigation systems in the world.


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