Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudis Flee Ramadan’s Heat to Water Springs | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Al-Ahsa’s Al-Jawhariya spring in Ramadan. (Abdullah al-Yassine)

Al-Ahsa – Many of Al-Ahsa residents and visitors spend the few hours preceding the time to break the fast (iftar) in Ramadan in wells, springs and farms in the province, trying to escape the summer heat in the largest province in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia.

This tradition has existed for five decades, especially since Al-Ahsa boasts more than 20 wells and springs that can be enjoyed in all seasons. They include the “Al-Harr” (hot spring) characterized with its warm water throughout the year. The sulfur spring has many treatment purposes along with many other wells in the same province, which is considered one of the largest agriculture oases not only in the Kingdom, but the entire Middle East.

Amid the high temperatures that reach 50 degrees Celsius at their peak at noon,“al-Jawhariya” spring is the people’s preferred choice to escape the heat, especially since it is open to the public after the afternoon (asr) prayer.

Khaled Al Farida, director general of Al-Ahsa’s Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and expert in heritage and geography, said wells in this region have been the top destination for residents and visitors seeking recreation. They are also visited by people seeking natural treatments due to their sulfur content.

He added to Asharq Al-Awsat: “Over the past years, drilling operations by private companies have led to a drop in water levels. Many wells became drained and others were neglected. However, the tourism authority and the sewage and drainage authority joined hands to rehabilitate the remaining historic wells in order to overcome difficulties and the causes that led important heritage sites in Al-Ahsa to disappear.”

Farida said that rehabilitation works at three of the most important and famous wells have concluded.

He pointed out that wells and springs that existed for decades represent a great value for Al-Ahsa.

He said that since the majority of springs have drained, authorities have worked on rehabilitating the many off them to preserve the heritage of this province.

Farida finally said Al-Ahsa features a variety of touristic sites, qualifying it to compete for international awards for tourism, heritage and history preservation.