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Al-Hasa Oasis
Arabic: 'al-'ahsā'
Other spellings:al-Ahsa, Hassa





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Al-Hasa Oasis

Al-Hasa oasis, Saudi Arabia.
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Al-Hasa oasis, Saudi Arabia.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Al-Hasa oasis, Saudi Arabia.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Al-Hasa oasis, Saudi Arabia.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Oasis in central-eastern Saudi Arabia.
It has also given name to the region with the same name, Al-Hasa. Both the region and the oasis are administered as part of the Eastern Province.
The oasis lies 65 km from the Persian Gulf and is the largest in the country and one of the largest in the world, with an area of about 120 km² and a population of 600,000 (2003 estimate). It is bounded by the ad-Dahna and ad-Daman deserts.
The central economic activity of the oasis is agriculture, fed by more than 60 artesian wells. Around 3 million date palms produce a variety of date. Additional products are rice, corn, citrus and other fruits. There is also intensive raising of sheep, goats, cattle and camels. Egg farms add to the variety, making al-Hasa one of the major Saudi food producers. Wind carrying sand is a great problem for the oasis, but in modern times the government has planted protective tree barriers.
Al-Hasa also has some industries producing cement and plastics, in addition to more traditional small-scale industries.
More than 50% of the population of the oasis are Twelver Shi'i Muslims. Hofuf (320,000, 2005 estimate) centre, embracing the southwestern part of the oasis. There are around 50 traditional Arabian villages spread around the oasis.

History
The al-Hasa Oasis has been inhabited since prehistoric times, due to its abundance of water.
899: Al-Hasa comes under control of the Qarmatian leader, al-Jannabi, and is declared independent from the Abbasids of Baghdad. The capital is al-Mu'miniya (near modern Hofuf).
1077: The Qarmatian state of al-Hasa is overthrown, while the Qarmantians retain control of Bahrain.
Late 18th century: Conquered by Wahhabi troops.
1818: Comes under Ottoman control.
1913: Ibn Saud conquers al-Hasa Oasis, annexing it into his principality of Najd.
1930's: Huge petroleum deposits are discovered near Dammam, resulting in rapid modernization for the region.
Early 1960's: The oil fields in al-Hasa reach the production level of 1 million barrels per day.




By Tore Kjeilen