Travelling to UAE? Take a look at this deserted desert village, an hour from Dubai


Nestled in sand dunes an hour’s drive from the skyscrapers of Dubai, a desert village deserted within the Nineteen Nineties stands as an eerie relic of the fast urbanization of the United Arab Emirates.

A house's entrance gate is buried under the sand at the Bedouin village of al-Ghuraifa, about 100 km, 62 miles, southeast of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Built-in the 1970s, the village was abandoned two decades later as oil wealth transformed the country into a global hub of commerce and tourism, home to the futuristic cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
A home’s entrance gate is buried underneath the sand on the Bedouin village of al-Ghuraifa, about 100 km, 62 miles, southeast of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Constructed-in the Seventies, the village was deserted twenty years later as oil wealth reworked the nation into a worldwide hub of commerce and tourism, house to the futuristic cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. (AP Picture/Kamran Jebreili)

Constructed within the Seventies to deal with semi-nomadic Bedouin, the village of al-Ghuraifa was deserted twenty years later as oil wealth reworked the nation into a worldwide hub of commerce and tourism, house to the futuristic cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Lately, the ghost village close to the city of al-Madam within the Sharjah emirate has turn into one thing of a vacationer attraction, providing an escape from the concrete jungles of the coastal cities and a glimpse on the Emirates’ hardscrabble previous.

The village, which includes two rows of properties and a mosque, “can educate us a variety of the trendy historical past of the UAE,” mentioned Ahmad Sukkar, an assistant professor on the College of Sharjah who’s a part of a group researching the location.

It was constructed as a part of a public housing mission after the 1971 formation of the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms. The invention of oil 13 years earlier was simply beginning to reshape the nation.

The village housed round 100 members of the al-Ketbi tribe, Sukkar mentioned. They have been one in every of a number of Bedouin tribes that till then had led a semi-nomadic existence, elevating animals, touring among the many desert oases and visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi after they have been small port cities reliant on fishing and pearl diving.

The trendy cement homes, constructed to ease the transition to settled life, featured native prospers. The inside partitions have been brightly coloured, and a few have been adorned with mosaics. The properties additionally featured areas the place village elders might host native councils, often known as “majalis” in Arabic. One home had wallpaper depicting a lush inexperienced panorama, a stark distinction to the monotonous sandscape exterior.

It is unclear what precisely sparked the exodus simply twenty years after the properties have been constructed.

In native lore, the residents have been pushed away by evil spirits, however Sukkar says it is extra possible that they left to hunt a greater life within the UAE’s fast-growing cities. The village had restricted entry to electrical energy and water, and was buffeted by sandstorms. Households would have additionally needed to deal with an extended commute throughout the desert to achieve authorities jobs and faculties in Dubai.

These days the desert is slowly reclaiming the village. Drifts of sand have blown into the properties, and in some rooms, they obscure partitions and practically attain the ceiling. Solely the mosque stays because it was, due to common sweeping by upkeep staff from close by al-Madam.

Some descendants of the camel-mounted Bedouin who as soon as plied the desert sands nonetheless reside within the Emirates’ rural stretches, although many now reside in cities with glimmering skyscrapers, cavernous, air-conditioned malls and a sprawling community of recent highways. Expatriates from all corners of the earth make up the overwhelming majority of the UAE’s inhabitants, and a few have taken an curiosity in its humbler previous.

On a current day, tour guides may very well be seen main teams of holiday makers by means of the deserted village. It’s additionally been the setting for music movies and social media posts that includes the international fashions, fancy automobiles and shows of opulence for which Dubai is now greatest identified.

“I’m wondering why they left,” mentioned Nitin Panchal, an Indian expatriate visiting the location. “Might or not it’s a genie, may very well be black magic? We’ll by no means know.”

The municipality not too long ago put in fencing across the perimeter, together with a safety gate, rubbish bins and a car parking zone. Previous guests had left graffiti, scraped décor from the partitions and climbed atop fragile roofs for pictures.

The brand new measures have drained a few of the thriller from the location and raised the prospect of it turning into one more vacationer attraction in a rustic crammed with them.

Danny Sales space, an expatriate from the Isle of Man, a British Crown Dependency within the Irish Sea, mentioned he had determined to “come and take a look earlier than issues begin to change right here.”

“Generally these locations are higher left undisturbed, as they lose their appeal after they turn into crowded,” he mentioned.

This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Solely the headline has been modified.


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