Qatif City Profile
An oasis city, Qatif is the center of one of the most important fishing and agricultural areas in the north-eastern Kingdom. Since the development of the oil fields in the late 1940s, Al-Qatif has lost its status as an important port to Ad-Dammam. In addition to several oil wells, Al-Qatif has oil-gas separator plants, pipelines, and large residential quarters for workers. Its inhabitants are mainly fishermen, farmers, businessmen and government employees.
Geography of Qatif
The Qatif area contains a population of 300,000 people scattered over distinct regions. The villages are inhabited by farmers, and the coastal areas by fishermen. There are vast desert expanses that are sparsely inhabited. The city contains more than thirteen schools for boys and girls, a 300-bed general hospital, health centers and a 40-bed specialist hospital. There is a Health Institute for boys and nursing institute for girls. Fishing is dominant: Qatif is the main supplier of fish to the Eastern Province. The agricultural section produces dates, wheat, barley, vegetables, fruit and poultry. Business and oil also figure into the area's accounts.
The history of Qatif dates back to 3500 BC in the late Bronze Age. Known by other names, such as the most famous "Al-Khatt", the area has been inhabited by a great diversity of people. Its location in the midst of one of the largest oases in the world, famous for its springs and palm trees, has ensured work in farming and government service. After the discovery of oil, many residents sought employment with Saudi ARAMCO.
Accumulation of the archaeological evidence points to the probability that Eastern Arabia play a decisive role in cross-cultural contracts during the third millennium B.C. The small island of Tarut of the coast of Qatif, appears to have boasted a very active seaport, which was involved in wide spread trading network. Eastern Arabia coastline could well control a far- flung traffic in the trade among the civilizations, which existed 5000 years ago. During the last century, Qatif was the inland oasis supporting the fishermen villages of Al - Khobar and Dammam, now full-fledged towns.
Qatif fishing port attracts catches from all ports of the Arabian Gulf. The Fish Market opens after sunset prayer and closes at 10:30 pm.
Every Thursday morning, Qateef bustles with the transactions of Khamee's market, where stands are placed among regular stores and peddlers roam. A wide range of goods is available, with folkloric handicrafts, made during the week, displayed side-by-side modern imports.
Qasr Darin (also known as Qasr Abdul Wahhab Pasha) is an impressive structure overlooking the Arabian Gulf. In 1884, the wealthy Muhammed ibn Al 'Abdul Wahhab Al Fayhani came to the area from Qatar and built the castle over settlements which date to the dawn of Islam. He traded in pearls, which were exported to many countries at that time.
Few origins of Tarut Citadel are not known for certain, except that it was built over 5000-year old settlements.
Legends envisage a variety of historical images. One story is that the Citadel was built between 1515-1521 A.D. by the people of Qatif or Tarut for protection against Portuguese attackers. Another is that the Portuguese built it for protection against Turkish attacks. After being forced to surrender in 1559 A.D., the Portuguese fled Tarut for the Island of Awal.
Tarut Citadel is surrounded by a wide wall of terracotta material, gypsum, and stones. Crab-shaped in its totality, the 9-meter-high wall from bottom to top ranged between 1-2.5 meters in width. Bridges, over the entire length of the wall and connecting 11 high towers and abutments, were used as secret passages during wartime.
There are many discoveries that go back to 3000 B.C; the most important one is Al-Rafea archaeological dig.
The Al-Rafea dig is 1.5 km south-east of Taroot town. It contains many cemeteries. A Denmark mission made some surveys in 1964 in TAROOT and found some early tools. Some of them date back as early as 3000 B.C, such as some unscripted pots. Scripted stones show Samarian art, and some stamps were also found.
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