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Al-Ahsa Oasis Cultural Heritage Landscape

Date de soumission : 08/04/2015
Critères: (ii)(iii)(iv)(v)
Catégorie : Culturel
Soumis par :
Permanent Delegation of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO
État, province ou région :
Eastern Region, Al-Ahsa Province
Coordonnées N 2817627.63 E 367144.82
Ref.: 6032

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Les noms des biens figurent dans la langue dans laquelle les États parties les ont soumis.


Latitude and Longitude, or UTM coordinates:





Jawatha Mosque

39 R

367144.82 m E

2817627.63 m N

Ibrahim Palace

39 R

357826.47 m E

2807661.73 m N

Sahoud Palace

39 R

357529.29 m E

2811561.71 m N

Mhairis Palace

39 R

357485.05 m E

2815340.80 m N

Abu Jlal Palace

39 R

416248.59 m E

2846262.22 m N

Al-Uqair Port

39 R

421113.00 m E

2847713.00 m N

Mount Qara

39 R

367976.16 m E

2811082.90 m N

Souq Al-Qaisariyah market

39 R

358069.99 m E

2807437.09 m N


Al-Ahsa Province is located in the Eastern region, 360 km from Riyadh, and 150 km from Dammam. Al- Ahsa is considered one of the largest natural agricultural palm oases in the world, also has an important geographical and strategic location chose it to play a major role in the regional history since ancient times, it had cultural links with ancient world civilizations in the Levant, Egypt and Mesopotamia, it is the Gateway to the Arabian Peninsula to the outside world and a communication bridge of between the Gulf and the Indian sub-continent, as it was and still a land port that connects the Kingdom with other Gulf states like: UAE, Qatar and Oman, where pilgrims caravans crossed from these countries to the Holy land. Al-Ahsa was and still is one of the richest areas of groundwater sources, it is one of the best tourist destinations where its green plateaus with its farms and palms constitute a living garden amid a sea of sand; as a result of the large number of water springs that flowed naturally and profusely from more than 162 springs between warm, hot and cold water. It also occupies large areas of palms more than three million palm trees spread over 10,000 hectares of agricultural land producing the best types of dates in the world, add this to production of Ahsa’ie rice and various fruits and vegetables. 

Location: Al-Ahsa occupies a large area in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, from the North Abqaiq province, from the east of the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Salwa, from the south the Empty Quarter and western desert of Dahna. Al-Ahsa is privileged with a distinct geographic location, it is considered the land port that connects the Kingdom to the Gulf countries, the distance from the State of Qatar 150 km and from Dammam 150 km and from the capital Riyadh 328 kilometers, showing the importance of Al-Ahsa as a mediated distance from Riyadh or Dammam to neighboring Gulf countries, witnessing constant convoys of cars coming from Oman, the UAE and Qatar heading to cities across the the Kingdom and in particular Makkah and Medina via the Al-Ahsa, which enhances its business situation

Historic Background and Urban Heritage: Al-Ahsa is one of the oldest human settlement centers in the Arabian Peninsula, was dubbed by the name of Bahrain, then called Hajar name, and then carried the name of Al-Ahsa. Al-Ahsa gained historical significance of its occurrence on the road between Yemen and Iraq and the presence of the port Al-Uqair on the Arabian Gulf, in addition to the availability of water and the natural springs, and the large number of date palm groves that cover vast tracts of Oasis. Al-Ahsa has been known since antiquity, with science, education, and cultural contact with the inside outside. It is situated in a prominent location linking Saudi Arabia with the Gulf States. Al-Hofuf city is the capital of Al-Ahsa province. Al-Ahsa province is considered one of the oldest areas that on its soil originated human civilizations, and its historical dimension impacted in the flourishing of the province (especially the oasis). In old times being a conduit for the movement of trade and convoys, as the importance of its urban heritage with potentials and elements of urban provisions made for Al-Ahsa province appears in highlighting the many social, economic and development aspects of life, while drawing many principles and lessons to benefit from and measuring against. Towns and villages of Al-Ahsa province are also characterized by the presence of old neighborhoods that are part of the contemporary city, which later spread modern urbanism (Al-Koot, Al-Na’athel... etc in Al- Hofuf) and what these urban neighborhoods contain from urban landmarks and remains of high value.

The Current view of the Oasis: Despite the growth, development and change, which have seen population in the oasis of Al-Ahsa in the past years, in the form of enforcing streets grids and the establishment of new buildings, the city still maintains the old image and the unity of composition and harmony of the relationship between neighborhoods. The only noticeable change is outside the boundaries of the old city as new housing units have spread around the new roads, and most of these units spread spontaneously often mimicking the topography. The picture of the new neighborhoods was complete after the construction of public buildings, and its relation to the main lines of public services in addition to the establishment of the commercial centers, as the city of Al-Hofuf began to be the administrative capital of the surrounding provinces after connecting to Al-Mabraz and with the rest of the Oasis villages with network of paved roads. Where the latter has helped make the government departments buildings concentrated there.

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionelle

Al-Ahsa is the famous oasis for dates and water springs, the greenest place in eastern Saudi Arabia. Where more than 1.5 million and date Palm Grow, considered the largest palm oasis surrounded by sand in the world, making it creditable competitor in International Seven Wonders of the World contest. On the banks of this oasis of intense agricultural work with abundance of water and fresh water springs, characterized with the advantage that led to the derivation of its name, which is the large number of (Hesi) or water springs, wherein natural springs that reached international fame, such as: Al-Johariyah, Um Sab’a, Al-Khdood, Al-Harra, Um Deli Ain Najm, In addition to the sulfur water and its beautiful environment.

Criterion (ii): Al-Ahsa developed at the crossroads of important trade routes linking the south and central parts of Arabia to the Arabian Gulf and to the civilization centers in Mesopotamia and Persia, and it became an outstanding example of the interaction of the various cultural influences.

Criterion (iii): Al-Ahsa and its Cultural Landscape represent an exceptional testimony to the development of a trading settlement in the desert environment of the Arabia.

Criterion (iv): Al-Ahsa represents an outstanding example of a commercial settlement and citadel in the east Arabian region, based on the use of various mud construction techniques.

Criterion (v): The cultural landscape of Al-Ahsa is an outstanding representation of the interaction of man and nature in a desert environment, use of irrigation system based on a strict social system with precise tasks and responsibilities, which have been maintained in use until the present, but has now become vulnerable to irreversible change.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité

Integrity: The integrity of the urban fabric is generally good. The property includes sufficiently large ensembles of characteristic built structures  to  enable  them  to  be  well  understood. However, the architectural integrity of the buildings is under threat in many cases, because of abandonment and lack of maintenance. The integrity of the urban landscape might be under threat from the pressure for property linked urban sprawl.

Authenticity: The authenticity of the urban fabric has been generally conserved, enabling satisfactory expression of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. While some buildings, which are generally the public ones, have been restored and reused, the architectural integrity of a large number of buildings is often mediocre or poor, and their authenticity has in some cases been adversely affected by alterations which are not in keeping with the original design.

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