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Al Ahsa Oasis in Saudi desert on Unesco’s list of World Heritage sites

Al Ahsa, a desert oasis with millions of date palms in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, is considered one of the world’s largest natural agricultural oases

A view of Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahsa Oasis, spread across 10,000 hectares producing some of the world’s best dates and fed by dozens of natural water springs in the middle of the desert. Al Ahsa is among the 30 sites running to join UNESCO’s World Heritage.

Manama: The sun-scorched Al Ahsa Oasis in the desert of Saudi Arabia, along with its hunting grounds, as well as World War I cemeteries, Art Deco heritage in Mumbai and Italy’s Prosecco Hills are among 30 sites running to join UNESCO’s famous list as the World Heritage Committee meets from Sunday in Bahrain.

Al Ahsa, a desert oasis with millions of date palms in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, is considered one of the largest natural agricultural oases in the world.

It is famous for vast tracks of palms spread over 10,000 hectares of agricultural land producing the world’s best dates. Add to this the production of Ahsa’ie rice and various fruits and vegetables. 

Freshwater springs

The name of the oasis comes from the large number of springs in the area — ranging between 60 to 70.

In addition to freshwater springs, the oasis also has hot springs, with temperatures reaching up to 32 degrees Celsius.

The  most famous of them is Ain Najm, characterized by its therapeutic warm sulfuric water.

Al Ahsa has an important geographical and strategic location, which has contributed to its role in regional history since ancient times.

It had cultural links with the ancient world civilizations in the Levant, Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Al Ahsa province is considered one of the oldest areas and many civilizations have originated there.

The greenest part in the eastern Saudi Arabia, Al-Ahsa Oasis has more than 1.5 million palm trees and is the largest.

Desert trading hub

Hundreds of years ago, it was a channel for the movement of trade caravans.

It is now categorised as one of the oldest human settlements in the Arabian Peninsula.

The area was first called Bahrain, then Hajar, and finally Al Ahsa. 

Throughout history, it has been the gateway of the Arabian Peninsula to the outside world, a bridge between Gulf and the Indian sub-continent, as it was — and still is — a port that connects the Kingdom with other Gulf states.

Al Ahsa gained historical significance because it lies on the road between Yemen and Iraq. It is also home to Al Uqair port on the Arabian Gulf.

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