x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Shades of times past in Al Ain's palm groves

Almost a decade before the founding the UAE in 1971, a rider steers his mount through the date-palm farms of Al Ain.

Almost a decade before the founding the UAE in 1971, a rider steers his mount through the date-palm farms of Al Ain, for generations a vital source of food and the root of the area's fame as the garden city of the Emirates. Al Ain's green potential was enhanced by the development of the ingenious falaj system that ensured water reached all the farms growing these vital crops. Although no donkeys wander between the trees today, palms and the preserved falaj can still be seen, reminders of a recent history so dramatically changed by the coming of oil in the Sixties. The Al Ain oasis area is regarded as so significant culturally, both locally and regionally, that it has been nominated for inclusion in Unesco's World Heritage List. In addition to the oasis area, the application celebrates Al Ain's "vast wealth of archaeological remains ? dating back to the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Hellenistic, pre-Islamic and Islamic eras". If approved for inclusion, Al Ain will take its place alongside such sites as China's Great Wall and Egypt's pyramids.

Time frame is a series that opens a window into the nation's past. Each week it will feature an image from the archives of both prominent institutions and private collections. Readers are also invited to contribute and can submit ideas and photographs to yourpics@thenational.ae