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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Timeframe: back in the falaj of Al Ain 

The falaj is an ancient system of water irrigation made all the more remarkable because it's hand dug

A falaj in Al Ain/Buraimi taken at some point between 1962 and 1964. Courtesy David Riley
A falaj in Al Ain/Buraimi taken at some point between 1962 and 1964. Courtesy David Riley

We don't know where exactly in the Al Ain/Buraimi area this photograph was taken, but we do know who took it.

David Riley was a young English banker who spent about two years in Abu Dhabi from 1962 to 1964 and was chronicled on these pages here.

This was one of the photographs he took of Al Ain on his trips across the country. "I do remember the journey," he says of the drive to Al Ain.

"It was over soft sand, not like the baked sabkha [salt flat] of the coastal plain. However driving over soft sand is rather like 'floating' - until you get stuck."

The photograph also shows the falaj - an ancient system of water irrigation made all the more remarkable because it's hand dug. Back then, it was relatively easy to walk around the border villages of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. As the weather cools, you can take a walk through the newly-rejuvenated Al Ain Oasis and see how the falaj system works.

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Read more:

Time Frame: A stroll in a garden between Al Ain and Oman

Al Ain Oasis stays true to its 3,000-year heritage

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