Historic Al Zubarah was an important early commercial center of the Gulf region:
The walled coastal town of Al Zubarah in the Persian Gulf flourished as a pearling and trading centre for a short period of some fifty years in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Founded by Utub merchants from Kuwait, its prosperity related to its involvement in trade of high value commodities, most notably the export of pearls. At the height of its prosperity, Al Zubarah had trading links with the Indian Ocean, Arabia and Western Asia.
Al Zubarah was one of a long line of prosperous, fortified trading towns around the coast in what is now Qatar, and in other parts of the Persian Gulf, that developed from the early Islamic period, around the 9th century AD onwards, and established a symbiotic relationship with inland settlements. Individually these trading towns probably competed with each other over the many centuries during which the Indian Ocean trade was plied.
Al Zubarah was mostly destroyed in 1811 and finally abandoned in the early 20th century, after which its remaining rubble stone and mortar buildings collapsed and were gradually covered by a protective layer of sand blown from the desert. A small part of the town has been excavated. The property consists of the remains of the town, with its palaces, mosques, streets, courtyard houses, and fishermen’s huts, its harbour and double defensive walls, and, on its land side, a canal, two screening walls, and cemeteries. A short distance away are the remains of the fort of Qal’at Murair, with evidence of how the desert’s supplies of water were managed and protected, and a further fort constructed in 1938.
What distinguished Al Zubarah from the other trading towns of the Persian Gulf is that it lasted a comparatively short space of time, secondly that it was abandoned, thirdly that it has lain largely untouched since being covered by the desert sands, and fourthly that its wider context can still be read through the remains of small satellite settlements and the remains of possibly competing towns nearby along the coast. (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #1402)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list of World Heritage Sites online at the World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures have you been exploring in your homeschool this Leo Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 752–859; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇶🇦
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌍