Abu Dhabi archeology: Ancient wonders found in the Arabian desert

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(CNN) – The UAE may have just celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence but Abu Dhabi has been around for centuries.

Most of the emirates boast a status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the country’s best preserved parks showcasing its vast territory over the centuries, telling the story of the relationship of the Emirates to land and sea.

A short trip to the oasis city of Al Ain where lived one of the most amazing wonders of past generations, a living museum that celebrates the country’s Bedouin roots.

The birthplace of the country’s founder and first president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, Al Ain is a must-visit destination for visitors to the UAE for a true taste of its authentic culture and heritage. inheritance.

Known as the city of Garden, Al Ain is an important green oasis on the way from the UAE to Oman and is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here are some of the great archaeological and historical treasures of Abu Dhabi.

ʻO Qasr Al Hosn

The 18th-century Hosn Palace, or Qasr al Hosn, began as a single tower in the 18th century and, as complexity grew, became dominant until the late 1960s. .

“There are beautiful stories about the palace told by people who live around this place,” said Nataly Leslie, a tour guide in the emirate. “The doors of the palace were wide open for people to talk to the chiefs and express their concerns.”

Nowadays, the palace is becoming a huge attraction not only for tourists but also Emirati, who come and stay in the palace coffee shop to save some space. they heard their ancestors talked about.

The palace also showcases the local culture with traditional displays and events.

Al Ain Oasis

Al Ain, Abu Dhabi

Al Ain is home to 100 species of medicinal plants.

Barry Neild / CNN

The first UNESCO site of the UAE is the Al Ain Oasis.

Located in the heart of an area called The Garden City, the site dates back more than 4,000 years and is a testament to one of the earliest water systems today.

The system, called “falaj,” took water from the nearby Hajar mountains through the kind of narrow roads we see today.

Visitors can walk the paved walkways as the site covers over 1,200 acres and more than 147,000 palm trees and 100 species of palm trees.

The old falaj system was modernized in the 20th century with the introduction of pumps. There is an ecosystem center for visitors to gain an in -depth knowledge of the ancient Bedouin water systems.

Bidaa Bint Saud

Bidaa Bint Saud, an old parking lot, is located about 25 miles (15 miles) north of Al Ain.

The area of ​​interest has a large community of former farmers as far as the northern emirates, using a network of falaj irrigation systems, featuring an ancient iron house and Bronze cemeteries. Age 5,000 years old and tall. Gharn Bint Saud.

This rock rises 40 meters high above the ground with ancient stone tombs on top. Some of the artifacts from the area, such as pottery, knives, ornaments and bronze arrowheads, are on display at the Al Ain National Museum.

This Archaeological Park

From the Bronze Age (3200 BCE to 1300 BCE) and the Iron Age (1300 BCE to 300 BCE), this area displays evidence of ancient life living in the deserts of the area.

Geologists have identified the villages, cemeteries and agricultural practices from what is now called the Umm an-Nar period, named after the island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. where the rest of the culture was first seen.

It is home to the largest collection of UAE cemeteries and buildings ever since.

The tombs of Jebel Hafit

The tombs of Jebel Hafit show the importance of maritime trade in the Arabian Peninsula.

The tombs of Jebel Hafit show the importance of maritime trade in the Arabian Peninsula.

David Steele / Adobe Stock

At the highest point of Abu Dhabi, Jebel Hafit (Mount Hafit) is home to about 500 5,000 year old tombs marking the beginning of the Bronze Age in the UAE.

It was first discovered through excavations in 1959 that archaeologists found ceramic and bronze vessels in tombs such as the igloo showing the importance of the maritime trade in the Arabian river.

The one -bedroom cemetery is a playground that offers a window into the past.

Tour guide Leslie called this one of Abu Dhabi’s “secrets.”

“Most people don’t know about all this information in this place,” he said. “Even though the UAE is a young country, it has historical evidence that this is a place where history is made.”

Fort of Maqta

This small but important fort was built at the entrance to the main island of Abu Dhabi in the late 18th century using natural materials such as coral, beach stones and sand. tower to guard and protect Abu Dhabi for many years to come.

“While Qasr al Hosn has grown to be an important place for the locals, Maqta fort has become a resting place for people coming to Abu Dhabi,” Leslie said.

Al Ain Palace Museum

Al Ain Palace is home to the UAE royal family.

Al Ain Palace is home to the UAE royal family.

dudlajzov / Adobe Stock

When it was the home of Sheikh Zayed, the first president of the UAE, Al Ain Palace was occupied by the royal family until the 1960s before they turned the emirate’s city into home forever as the large island of Abu Dhabi was transformed into a political and economic capital. .

Visitors can experience life in a residence that dates back to before the discovery of oil in the mid -20th century.

Although not “old” compared to other parts of the emirate – the oldest building on the complex since 1937 – it is built with period materials, lined with traditional walls that showcase the those resources on the land at that time.

Now a museum, visitors can see the important links between the past and the present and appreciate Abu Dhabi’s rapid transition from Bedouin life to modern prosperity.

“If you like history and want to learn about the royal family and contemporary architecture, this is the right place to go, says Shamsa Al Naqbi, an Emirati tour guide.

“It knows the life of the royal family, their room, the design, the things they use, so it’s a great place to visit to see the true history of the UAE. . made in the new UAE today. “

Sir Baniyas Island Church and Monastery

Sir Baniyas Island in the Western Hemisphere can be picked up by boat or flown from Abu Dhabi via the Anantara hotel, which takes care of the tour of the remote island.

It was known in the early 1990s that the church and monastery were the only pre-Islamic Christian community found in the UAE, Leslie explains. It is the source of hundreds of artifacts that provide an interesting insight into modern life.

“Just like life in the UAE before oil was available, the people of this country use the ocean as food,” he said. “They also raised animals such as sheep and cattle and sold them in the Arabian Valley and the Indian Ocean.”

Sir Baniyas Island is now a wildlife sanctuary, home to a variety of wildlife ranging from Arabian oryx to gazelle so visitors can first experience the safaris.

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