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Oman, Saudi sites added to UNESCO World Heritage List Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Oman, Saudi sites added to UNESCO World Heritage List

Qalhat lies on Oman's eastern shores [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 June, 2018

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UNESCO have added two sites from the Gulf to their exclusive World Heritage List.
Oman and Saudi Arabia have seen sites added to the exclusive UNESCO World Heritage List, bringing a further boon to the Gulf states hopes in attracting more tourists.

Qalhat in Oman was added to the list on Friday, an ancient city in the east of the sultanate known for its necropolises, walls and buildings.

Little remains of the site, but an ancient mausoleum of Bibi Maryam still stands, built by a local queen who ruled the area in the early 12th Century.

"Today it bears unique archaeological testimony to the trade links between the east coast of Arabia, East Africa, India, China and South-east Asia," UNESCO said in a press release.

Ibn Battuta visited the city and praised the "fine bazaars and one of the most beautiful mosques" in Qalhat.

Oman has four other sites on the prestigious heritage list: the ancient Aflaj water channels that span the country, the Land of Frankincense in the south, Bahla Fort, and sites of Bat, al-Khutm and al-Ayn.

Saudi Arabia saw the al-Ahsa Oasis added to the list on Friday. The site in the east of the kingdom has been settled since at least Neolithic times and shows signs of ways humans have interacted with the environment.
 
"The al-Ahsa Oasis is a serial property comprising gardens, canals, springs, wells, a drainage lake, as well as historical buildings, urban fabric and archaeological sites," UNESCO said in a statement.

The site joins four other places in Saudi Arabia, already named on the UNESCO Heritage List including Old Jeddah, rock art in the Hail region, at-Turaif, and al-Hijr.

UNESCO's Heritage List is made up of places or areas that have cultural, historic or scientific significance and become internationally protected sites.

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