UAE Lobbies for UNESCO World Heritage Status of 2,000-Year Old Temple

Other than its progressive and technological advancements, the UAE is also known for its historical and traditional heritage. While there have already been a number of new establishments and infrastructures built on UAE soil, the national government has still remained grounded on its values and unique cultural roots.

For this reason, the national government is also looking at some of its historical sites that could be promoted as national heritage areas, which could further boost the country’s tourism and cultural value all over the world.

ed-dur world heritage
Credits: WAM

2,000-Year Old Temple Targeted to Receive UNESCO Distinction

Following the completion of the government’s conservation programme for the pre-Islamic temple at the 2,000 year old archaeological site of ed-Dur, the Department of Tourism and Antiquities of Umm Al Quwain is now looking to have the temple and the whole area of ed-Dur classified under the World Heritage list of UNESCO, as shared in a report by WAM.

Having been excavated over 30 years ago, the ed-Dur which dates to the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD has become one of the most valued historical locations in the country for its relevance to the early Bronze Age, around 3,000 BC and to the Neolithic period, around 5,000 – 6,000 BC.

As per archaeological accounts, during excavations, a stone altar was found within the temple, whose walls measure 8 metres by 8.3 metres. At the time it was found, the temple’s walls still stood nearly 2 metres high.

There were four other altars found outside the temple, suggesting that the area was a special precinct of some kind. The well was 1.2 metres in diameter and around 6 metres deep. Found on one of the altars were Aramaic inscriptions, a language used widely across the Middle East, including the Arabian Gulf, around the beginning of the Christian era.

While it was extremely difficult to decipher, the markings were clearly related to the early Semitic sun god Shams, which is why archaeologists believe that the temple was dedicated to Shams.

Following its first excavation, the temple was left unprotected, with deterioration of its walls while the fine plaster decorations surrounding the door decayed.

Recognizing its historical value and the blueprint that could be traced to earlier civilizations, the Department of Tourism and Antiquities launched a three-stage programme for conservation and restoration of the temple, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development and the Sharjah office of UN-affiliate ICCROM, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural property.

Watch a short clip on Umm Al Quwain’s ed-Dur temple as shared by WAM via YouTube below:

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