Sep 17 – 19, 2024
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Asia/Riyadh timezone

Social Tour to Al Ahsa

Al-Ahsa Oasis

      
With more than 2.5 million date palm trees blanketing a verdant expanse just inland from Saudi Arabia’s Gulf coast, Al Ahsa is the archetype of a lush desert oasis. And the UNESCO World Heritage-recognized region recently added a new feather to its cap: Guinness World Records declared Al Ahsa the largest self-contained oasis in the world.        
The Al Ahsa Oasis is a serial property comprising gardens, canals, springs, wells and a drainage lake, as well as historical buildings, urban fabric and archaeological sites. They represent traces of continued human settlement in the Gulf region from the Neolithic to the present, as can be seen from remaining historic fortresses, mosques, wells, canals and other water management systems. Al-Hasa is also a unique geocultural landscape and an exceptional example of human interaction with the environment.


Al-Qarah Mountain and Caves

      
Al Qarah is a beautiful mountain located in the Al Ahsa. It is known as the ‘Mountain of Whistling Wind’ by the locals as the wind seems to whistle when they flow through the mountain. Al Qarah mountain is a site showing evidence of ancient settlements in the region dating back to 5,000 BC. The summit of Al Qarah Mountain ranges from 75 m to 205 m above sea level. The views from the summit provide exceptional views of the entire surroundings.       
Owing to the formation and weathering process in the mountains, Al Qaraha has numerous caves and rock formations that can be visited by tourists. Over the years, rivers and rain have cut the limestone, giving foundation to many of the caves present in the mountain today. The caves have maintained temperature due to the inflow of cool breeze in the passageway of the mountain.


Dougha Handmade Pottery Factory

      
Nestled snugly within the caves of Al Qarah Mountain’s western face, there is Dougha Handmade Pottery Factory. Walk through the factory’s turreted entrance and fortress-like doors, and the effect is to travel back in time. It’s here where, 150 years ago, a man named Dougha Al Gabash set up shop in one of Al Qarah many cavernous hideouts. The temperate surroundings not only kept him cool but also kept his mountain-sourced clay moist. This was the perfect place for the master potter to begin a craft that he would pass down to his sons, who in turn spread the tradition to their own children.


Hofuf Qaisariah Souq

      
Al-Qaisaryah market is located in the center of Al-Hofuf and directly opened onto a wide street that runs through the city center. The Qaisariah souq consists of more than 422 shops and is distinguished by its architectural designs of closed corridors and elevated roofing.        
This traditional market plays a vital economic role in the economy of Al-Ahsa, which has enjoyed a pivotal position in the Kingdom’s economy since early in its history.       
Nowadays, it is possible to buy the traditional Arab's clothes, including men's cloaks embroidered with gold thread, types of gowns and head covers (hijabs); traditional handicrafts and heritage collectibles; aromatic products and medicinal plants; kinds of grains, coffee and all food.


Al Amiriya School 

      
The Al Amiriya School was founded in 1937 AD, as a response to the wishes of Hofuf’s people and those of villages around it to establish a center of education. The area of Al Ahsa in Hofuf has always been famous in the Arabian Peninsula as a place to seek knowledge.        
It has been known as the first school in Hofuf. It was established in 1940 and it was initially a primary school for boys. Then it was changed for teaching intermediate and secondary education. Its area reached about 1.200sqm. It was the first government school building in Al Ahsa during the Saudi era.       
The building has an old urban character, that reflects the pattern of the urban heritage of Al Ahsa.


The Ibrahim Palace

      
Ibrahim Palace is a historical castle and fort that is located in Hofuf. It is the main architectural heritage from the Ottoman period that was a Turkish military barracks. After that, the palace was taken and seized by King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud in 1913. It is considered as one of the major architectural masterpieces in Al Ahsa and it combines Islamic and military architecture.