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Excavation of UAE’s earliest mosque highlights Islam’s Early Golden Age

Archaeologists from the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) are continuing to make spectacular discoveries that shed new light on the history of the UAE at the dawn of Islam.  
This was a period of time which ushered in a wave of change across the UAE. The new religion brought with it a set of values and beliefs that have since defined the history of the country. 

 Close to the construction site of the Sheikh Khalifa mosque in Al Ain, DCT Abu Dhabi archaeologists discovered several falaj (irrigation waterways), at least three buildings and, more significantly, a mosque which dates back to Islam’s Early Golden Age of the Abbasid Caliphate, 1,000 years ago. The mosque is the earliest yet discovered in the UAE. 

HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi said: “The new findings at the Al Ain archaeological sites prove the richness of the region’s history, which allows us to expand our knowledge of ages long past. The discovery of a mosque from the Abbasid period in Al Ain demonstrates the deeply-rooted influences of Islam in the region, despite the immense distance from where Islam first emerged and at a time when modes of transportation were quite rudimentary. However, these findings display clear and profound cultural influences that reveal how the connections established by our ancestors with neighbouring cultures and nations transcended borders and surmounted transport difficulties, which in turn calls for further analysis to form a holistic understanding of our past.”

Experts have revealed that the buildings at the site, made from mudbrick, are the remains of a small fortress and several other structures. People living in these buildings would have obtained fresh water from several falaj that they constructed around the settlement. Falaj technology has a deep history in Al Ain stretching back 3,000 years. In the early Islamic period, the people of Al Ain improved the existing technology by using fired bricks to ensure the stability and durability of the underwater channels. When excavated these falaj were still intact. 


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