Dotted with archaeological sites dating to the Neolithic Period, Al Ahsa is considered one of the largest natural agricultural oases in the world
RIYADH, July 5 (CIC) – Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahsa oasis became the latest archaeological site to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list last week.
The oasis, named after the region in eastern Saudi Arabia, is located about 60 kilometres inland from the coast of the Arabian Gulf. Experts say the region is dotted with archaeological sites dating to the Neolithic period.
Historically, Al-Ahsa was the main city in Al-Bahrain province, making up most of its population and providing most of its agricultural output. According to the Saudi submission to UNESCO, Al Ahsa “was a commercial centre for the Hajar territory of Bahrain.”
The oasis with 65 to 70 fresh- and hot-water springs and vast tracks of date palms spread over 10,000 hectares of agricultural land is considered one of the largest natural agricultural oases in the world.
Prince Sultan bin Salman, President of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, said the ancient region was once held a distinction for agricultural activities. “Its inhabitants deployed various agricultural techniques and sophisticated irrigation systems extending along the eastern areas of Al Ahsa Oasis have been discovered.”
Al Ahsa had geographical and strategic importance to ancient trade routes, which explains why it had cultural links with some of the thriving ancient civilisations in the Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Levant.
Other Saudi sites that have found place on the World Heritage List include the rock-cut monuments of Madâin Sâlih in the Madinah Province; At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah in Riyadh; the historic Red-Sea port city of Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah; and the rock art of the Hai’l region.