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Liwa Oasis travel guide

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Liwa Oasis

A trip in the past!

You travel into a time when petroleum dollars did not yet shape the appearance of towns and cities. The ancestors of today’s rulers of Abu Dhabi, who founded a settlement on the coast in 1793, came from here. Although the houses of the oases of Liwa were not built until the 1970s and 1980s and are not made from mud, the atmosphere here is much less modern and western.
Mezirah, the commercial centre of theoases of Liwa, 15 small towns that stretch along the edge of the Rub al-Khali, a sand desert devoid of human life. They form the largest continuous oasis district of the UAE. The population mainly sustains itself through agriculture. Tomatoes, cabbage, and potatoes are the main crops grown in the fields. From Mezirah, the road leads east and west. The remaining oases are strung along this approximately 50km/31mi road, which is paved initially but eventually gives way to a rubble and sand track. Golden and brownish shimmering sand dunes up to 150m/492ft high can be found between the settlements. There are reforestation projects, date palm groves, and vegetable fields, all nicely fenced in to protect them against the ever-present hungry goats. There are also palm frond fences here and there to protect against sanding. Most of the houses in the settlements are more recent, but there are also occasional Bedouin tent encampments.

Liwa Oasis travel guide by Marco Polo 2011 country guide

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