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Al Ahsa Oasis

Al Ahsa Oasis



The large oasis area in Eastern Saudi Arabia is known as Al- Ahsa and runs from the Arabian Gulf to the Dahwa and Oman deserts, and borders with Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman.  It is considered the largest oasis in the world.  In 1913, the oasis and surrounding areas were brought into what is now known as Saudi Arabia.  Built upon one of the old trading routes between the west and the orient, Al Ahsa has always been a center of commerce. Known for its huge date palm farms, the central one contains approximately 3 million trees.  
 
  
The area has a dry tropical climate which becomes very hot every six months during the summer and fall, yet cold in the desert winters.  Al Ahsa is known for its plentiful reserves of underground water which helped to develop the agricultural business in the area.  Many kinds of agricultural goods are grown there such as corn, rice, wheat, citrus and other fruits.  Petroleum production is probably what the area is most famous for with the construction of many oil fields, the largest of which are part of Aramco.
   
Al Ahsa is also known for its many archeological sites which portray the rich history of the region. One such place is Jebel Garah which is located approximately 13km east of Al-Hofuf, and is named after a large, well-known eastern village.  This location boasts limestone caves named Ghar Al Hashshab.   Another important site in Al Hofuf is Qasr (castle) Ibrahim which was built during Ottoman times by governor Ali Ibn Ahmed Ibn Lawand Al Burayki and was the site of important trade routes. In 1216 AH, the Saudi Governor Ibrahim Ibn 'Ufaysan renovated the castle, possibly the reason for its name. The Masjid Al Qubba which was also built with the castle displays a large single dome and its architecture is unique to the area.    

Tarout Island is also a wonderful place to see as its history was built up over almost 5,000 years.  Qasr al-Darin was built to protect the pearl trade which the area was famous for.  There is also a fort made out of the traditional mud and brick design.  The Aramco Exhibit located in Dhahran is an excellent display about oil production and the history behind the Aramco Company.  The well designed exhibit is worth a visit for all those new to the area.

This area, rich in history and resources is also the site for the King Saudi Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences Al Ahsa branch for the College of Nursing and the College of Applied Medical Sciences.  The efforts of the University are improving the quality and quantity of qualified staff to care for the health needs of a growing nation.

 

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