Al Ahsa (Arabic: ٱلْأَحْسَاء, romanized: Al-Aḥsāʾ, locally pronounced al-Ḥasāʾ (Arabic: الحَسا)) is the largest governorate in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, named after the Al-Ahsa Oasis. The name Al-Ahsa is also given to the biggest city in the governorate, Hofuf. In Classical Arabic, 'Ahsa' means the sound of water underground. It has one of the largest oases in the world with world-renowned date palms, and According to one author, the oases of Al-Hasa and Al Ain (in the UAE, on the border with Oman) are the most important in the Arabian Peninsula. The oasis is located about 60 mi (97 km) inland from the Persian Gulf. All urban areas are located in the traditional oasis of Al-Hasa. In addition to the oasis, the county also includes the giant Empty Quarter desert, making it the largest governorate in Saudi Arabia in terms of area. The Empty Quarter has the world's largest oil fields, and connects Saudi Arabia to Qatar, the UAE, and Oman. The Governorate's population is over 1,100,000 (2010 estimate). In the past, Al-Ahsa belonged to the historical region known as Bahrain, along with Qatif and the present-day Bahrain islands.
|Coordinates: 25°23′N 49°36′E|
|• Governor||Badr Bin Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Jalawi Al Saud|
|• Total||534,000 km2 (206,000 sq mi)|
|• Density||2.0/km2 (5.2/sq mi)|
One campus of a major Saudi university, King Faisal University, founded in 1975, is located in Al-Ahsa with the faculties of agriculture, veterinary medicine and animal resources. The Hofuf campus also has facilities where Saudi women can study medicine, dentistry and home economics. A large branch of the private Arab Open University is also located in Al-Ahsa.
Al-Ahsa has been inhabited since prehistoric times, due to its abundance of water.
1077: The Qarmatian state of Al-Ahsa is overthrown by the Uyunids.
1238: Usfurid dynasty takes over the region of Al-Ahsa and Al-Qatif.
1383: Usfurids are overthrown by the Jarwanids.
1670: the Ottomans are expelled by the tribe of Banu Khalid, who make their capital in Al-Mubarraz.
1795: Conquered by Saudi troops during the formation of the First Saudi State.
1818: Reconquered by the Ottoman Empire by Ottoman Egyptian forces overthrowing the First Saudi State in the process and granting the local tribe of Banu Khalid self-rule.
1830: Comes under the control of the Second Saudi State.
1871: The Second Saudi Dynasty loses the region to the Ottoman Empire again; however, this time it is directly ruled from Bagdad instead of by tribe of Banu Khalid under self-rule has had been the case in the past during Ottoman ownerships.
1913: King Abdulaziz Al Saud conquers Al-Ahsa Oasis, annexing it into his Kingdom of Najd. (This is recognised in the Treaty of Sèvres signed in 1920 with the other official partitionings of the Ottoman Empire.)
1932: Al-Ahsa becomes part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the King Abdulaziz.
1930s: Huge petroleum deposits are discovered near Dammam, resulting in rapid modernization for the region.
Early 1960s: The oil fields in Al-Ahsa reach the production level of 1 million barrels per day.
Population and economy
Oil production and agriculture are the two main economic activities of the Al-Ahsa. Al-Ahsa is the home of some of the richest oil fields in the world.
Natural fresh-water springs have surfaced in the region for millennia, encouraging human habitation and agricultural efforts (date palm cultivation especially) since prehistoric times. The Saudi Ministry of Agriculture established a factory to process its rich date harvest at the rate of five tons daily. Other components of its agricultural output include rice, corn, citrus, and other fruits. In addition, intensive livestock raising, involving thousands of sheep, goats, cattle and camels and more than 15 major poultry farms producing more than 100 million eggs a year, make Al-Ahsa one of the major food producers for the kingdom.
Manufacturing—both the traditional small-scale cottage industry kind (e.g. the traditional mislah mantle and pottery) and large-scale industries such as cement and plastics—has also been strongly encouraged.
Al-Ahsa International Airport (IATA: HOF) is the city's main airport. The airport is located 25 km from the city center and serves weekly local flights to Jeddah, Al-Medina and international flights to Dubai.
The city is served by a modern major highway system; Al-Ahsa / Riyadh highway; that links the city to KSA central region. Al-Ahsa / Dammam highway; that links the city to the rest of KSA eastern region and Kuwait. Al-Ahsa / Abu Dhabi highway; that links the city to UAE and Oman.
the city has a railway station connecting the city with the capital Riyadh to the west and Dammam to the north
The main charter bus company in the kingdom, known as the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO), offers trips both within the kingdom and to its neighboring countries.
- It has become the first city in the Persian Gulf region to be listed under the UNESCO's Creative Cities Network in the fields of crafts and folk art.
- It was also designated as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2018.
- In 2019, AL-Ahasa was selected as the Arab Tourism Capital.
The Al-Ahsa region boasts over 30 million palm trees. The Ministry of Agriculture has set up a factory to process its rich output of dates, amounting to five tons daily.
- Al-Hofuf is the capital city of the Al-Ahsa province and has many traditional markets.
- Al-Mubarraz (also spelled Al-Mobarraz), in Arabic المبرز, is one of the two main cities of the governorate.
- Al-Oyoon (also spelled Al-Uyoon or Al-Oyoun)
- Al-Omran (also spelled Al-Umran), in Arabic العمران, has an area of more than 6 km²6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi) and a population of more than 49,000 (in 1997). It consists of about 17 villages, including Al-Hutah, Al-Rumailah, North Al-Omran, South Al-Omran, Ghomsi, Al-Ulayyah, Abu Al-Hasa, Abu Thur, Al-Sayayrah, Al-Suwydrah, Al-Aramyah, Fariq Al-Raml, Wasit, Al- Shuwaikiah, Al-Sabaykh and Al-Nakheel. The Al-Sawab Club is situated in Al-Omran.
- Shaybah (oil town in the Empty Quarter)
Al-Ahsa is a large area where a lot of villages and small towns are located. The villages are normally grouped into two main groups according to their relative location to the oasis. Although the villages lack big markets and/or hospitals, there are few good polyclinics and small markets. You can find small bank branches and automated teller machines in many villages. Recently there have been a great improvement in road maintenance and re-construction of some main roads between villages and cities.
Al-Ahsa has about 50 villages, following is a list of some according to their location:
Here is an incomplete list (population in 1997):
- Al-Taraf (+27,000) which is famous for its four hills and its small zoo. Al-Rumailah (probably +12,020) It is well known because Al-Romailah existed at the time of Muhammad
- Al-Holailah (+21,000)
- Al-Battaliyah (+20,000)
- Al-Shu'bah (+17,000)
- Al-Omran (+49,000) which is a well-known village and has its own municipality
- Al-Munaizlah (+17,000)
- Al-Garah (+13,000) which is well known for its mountain Jabl Al-Garah
- Al-Jafr (+13,000) which is well known for its own police station and other government offices
- Al-Kilabiyah (+12,000) located about 10 km (6.2 mi) from Al-Hofuf
- Al-Mansorah (+10,000)
- Al-Towaithir (+8000)
- Al-Fudhool (+8000)
- Al-Markaz (+9000) (Arabic: ٱلْمَرْكَز, Arabic: قَرْيَة ٱلْمَرْكَز, romanized: Qaryat Al-Markaz, also spelled Al-Markez). It is about 15 km (9.3 mi) from Al-Hofuf.
- Al-Hotah (Probably +7000)
- Bani Ma'an ((lang-ar|بَنِي مَعن}}), one of the oldest villages. It is believed that it was bigger in the past.
- Abu Thor
- Al-Jeshah (+29,000)
- Al-Jubail (+10,000)
Here is an incomplete list:
- Al-Mutairfi (+29,000) which is well known for its natural springs
Al-Ahsa has a dry, tropical climate, with a five-month summer and a relatively cold winter. It enjoys the benefit of copious reserves of underground water which has allowed the area to develop its agricultural potential. Nevertheless, Al-Ahsa has to deal with tons of sand which the wind carries and deposits over the land. To counter this problem, the Kingdom has planted large barriers of trees to prevent the wind-borne sand from damaging inhabited and agricultural areas.
Historical and recreation sites
One of the oldest mosques in Islam, Jawatha Mosque, is reputed to be found here, as well, and several historic remnants of Ottoman Turkish influence can be seen in buildings such as Qasr Ibrahim and the Qasr Sahood. Many pictures of old Al-Ahsa and the Eastern Province were taken by the Danish explorer and convert to Islam Knud Holmboe (1902–1931) in his travels through the Middle East.
Here is a list of some historical and recreation sites:
- Jawatha Mosque
- Uqair: Seaport is situated on the Persian Gulf in eastern Al-Ahsa. It has lost its focal role as a fishing and transport site, and is now an outing place for people of the region.
- Qaṣr Ibrāhīm (Arabic: قَصْر إِبْرَاهِيْم) is a castle built during Ottoman rule. It is located prominently in Al-Hofuf city.
- Natural Springs like those in Umm Sabaa provides curative mineral water at a steady rate.
- Jabl Al-Garah is a hill (locally called a mountain) in Al-Garah a village of the same name offers visitors cool air in the summer months.
- Qasr Sahood (Arabic: قصر صاهود) is a Palace built during Ottoman rule in the city of Al-Mubarraz.
- Salwa Beach (Arabic: شاطىء سلوى) is sandy beach about 150 km (93 mi) from Al-Hofuf.
- Al-Shuʿbah Mountain (Arabic: جبل الشعبة).
- Jabl Al-Arbaʿ (Arabic: جبل الأربع) are sandy hills about 21 km (13 mi) from Al-Hofuf, on the way to Qatar .
- Al-Ahsa National Museum.
- Al-Ahsa National Park, located at Al-Omran town.
- Cavendish, Marshall (2007). "Geography and climate". World and Its Peoples. 1. Cavendish Square Publishing. pp. 8–19. ISBN 978-0-7614-7571-2.
- Mubarakpuri, Saifur Rahman Al (2005), The Sealed Nectar, Darussalam Publications, p. 205
- About.com Geography Archived 2013-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
- "Al-Ahsa: Home to the most prominent archaeological and historical sites in Saudi Arabia". Arab News. 2019-06-20. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
- Al-Ahsa a Geographical Study by Abdullah Al-Taher
- Recreation Utilities in Al-Ahsa by Abdullah Al-Shayeb