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Monday, May 15, 2017

Qaryat al Faw, Saudi Arabia’s 2100 years old City which has been forgotten

The legacy of those who were natives of Arabia is irreplaceable and priceless. Their incredible achievements also include an ancient city which still stands. Al Faw, the Kindah Kingdom’s capital had been constructed with incredible sophistication and was also one of the most important cities in the entire Arabian Peninsula. Settles in the foothill of the Tuwaiq Mountains located in the southern part of the country, Al Faw is located around 170 kilometers away from the town of Wadi Al Dawasir. It sits just at the edge of the famous Rub Al Khali desert and has remained relatively untouched, as it lost its importance after the demise of the city. This site has been safeguarding several ancient relics and vestiges, which is what actually makes the site more special.



Around the time of the first century BC, this city had been made the capital of the Kindah Kingdom. It then grew to a total size of 3 square kilometers and was known by people during those times as the City of Gardens or the Red City. Laying just on the historic incense route this city grew popular and important for economic and commercial activities. Al Faw had an extremely strong presence of Greek Influence which is also clearly visible in the Hellenistic art in the forms of paintings and also other artifacts which are found in and around the city. This also indicates that the residents of the Al Faw had interactions with people of distant cultures and also traded wisely and well.  The paintings were also a revelation, as they transformed the true understanding of an ancient, seemingly lost, Middle Eastern Art.



The trading route, along with Al Faw, peaked around the third century CE. This city continued to be inhabited by people till around 4 CE. After which the city fell barren. There were hardly any notes or points by the historians which mentioned the area, hence removing all its traces from history. This ancient town then re entered the books of history much later in 1940, after it was discovered by some engineers who had been working for the Aramco. The excavations of the site began later on in the 1970s, which revealed incredible findings.



Several of the artifacts which had been unearthed at Al Faw found their way to the museums in the Kingdom. Some of them were also displayed in the worldwide “Roads of Arabia” traveling exhibition. The excavations had revealed a planned city which had paved roads and also allotted areas for cemeteries, worship places, wells and markets.



The historical site has now been fenced and several of the inner sites cannot even be reached. A road starting from Wadi Al Dawsier will take you to right about a few feet difference from the Qaryat Al Faw. There are currently plans by the authorities to open public access to the historical site. Visitors who will go to the site today can see a sizeable portion of the historical site from the other side of the fence.


Location: Google Maps

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