Aramco Expats, an online blog that is a resource for current and former Saudi Aramco expatriates and their families, recently published a series of excellent blog posts on the seven wonders of the Arabia – the best heritage sites and historical places in the Kingdom.
In the fifth installment of the series of seven, Aramco Expats chose Al-Hasa Oasis in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, 60 miles inland from the Arabian Gulf.
Al-Hasa is the “largest and grandest oasis of all—not only in Arabia but in all of the world. If there is a scale measuring degrees of uniqueness, Al-Hasa Oasis sits upon the highest rung.”
Spread out over 120 square kilometers (46+ square miles) of area, Al-Hasa is a date producing area of Saudi Arabia. The name “Al-Hasa” itself is derived from a geological phenomenon that helps explain the origins of the Oasis’ abundant water. Over eons, massive deposits of sand have accumulated atop a dense substrate. When rain falls, the sand absorbs it like a giant sponge and saves it from evaporating in the searing heat of the harsh desert sun. At the same time, the hard, impermeable underlayment prevents the water from passing deeper into the earth. As a result, the sweet water springs Al-Hasa is famous for emerge naturally or with modest drilling. The Oasis is also noted for its comparatively pleasant weather and for the sound of water running through its underground channels.
In 2018, UNESCO inscribed Al-Hasa as Arabia’s fifth World Heritage Site, joining Madain Salih, Historic Jeddah, the At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah, and the rock art of Ha’il on the WHS list.
“One of Al-Hasa’s greatest attractions to visitors today is how well it has managed to retain much of its rich historical past and traditions. A devastating fire destroyed the old souk some years ago, but a new market has risen from the ashes and the Oasis’ vitality continues to astound. There are few places in the Kingdom where voyagers from far away lands can see and experience in one place so many layers of Saudi history and culture. The Oasis, in short, is a bridge that spans the ages,” AramcoExpats.com notes.