The Emirate of Umm Al Quwain may not have the glitz and glamour of Dubai, but – thanks to more than thirty fascinating archaeological sites – it attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every year
Located in the north of the United Arab Emirates, between Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain is the oldest of the seven emirates by far. The earliest settlements can be traced back for more than 7000 years and the proof of these ancient communities are still discernible to this day in Al-Dour.
In 2009, a team of archaeologists commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development unveiled several pieces of pottery, bronze spearheads and other interesting artefacts dating back to the third millennium BC in the Al-Dour area.
“Al-Dour was actually discovered in the 1970’s for the first time and it is currently the largest archaeological site in the UAE”, assures Alyaa Mohammed Al Ghafly, Director of the Umm Al Quwain Museum. “But with these recent findings, now Al-Dour has become the most ancient site in the emirate”.
Many archaeologists from every corner of the world have migrated to Umm Al Quwain to join its local experts, such as Mrs Al Ghafly, in the task of digging the site, hoping to unearth the evidence of ancient civilizations. Several stone houses, tombs and even a temple with round corner towers can already be found in the famous Al-Dour site.
But Al-Dour is only one of the more than thirty archaeological sites that can be found in the area. It is a personal interest of the Ruler of Umm Al Quwain, Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla to preserve and support the emirate’s archaeological sites, as well take advantage of their touristic appeal.
“The truth of the matter is that most people have only heard of Umm Al Quwain because of our sites”, explains Mrs Al Ghafly. “People come from all over the world to study and visit our sites. So now, with the initiative of Sheikh Saud, we are creating a new department, which will merge the archaeology department with tourism to help attract more visitors to the emirate”.
With the full support of the Ruler, the Tourism department is working in cooperation with the Department of Archaeology and Heritage in the emirate and aims to turn Al Dour and the many other sites into important tourism destinations.
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