A historical site that is a must visit for all

A historical site that is a must visit for all

Some shoot out of the soft rock like reptiles bathing in the sun. Others are mysterious depressions resembling an ancient board game played all over the world. And a few are straight-up puzzling.

On Qatar’s northeastern coast, among the sand dunes of the barren desert, lies Al Jassasiya, the Gulf country’s largest and most important rock art site.

Here, people centuries ago used a series of low-lying limestone outcrops as a canvas on which they carved symbols, motifs, and objects that they observed in their environment.

Overall, archaeologists have found a total of some 900 rock carvings, or “petroglyphs,” at Al Jassasiya. They are mostly enigmatic cup marks arranged in various patterns, including rows and rosettes, but also eye-catching representations of sailing ships, usually seen from above but also depicted in linear profile, among other symbols and signs.

“Although rock art is common in the Arabian Peninsula, some of the carvings in Al Jassasiya are unique and cannot be found anywhere else. These carvings represent a high degree of creativity and observation skills [on the part of] the artists who made them. Also [of] abstract thinking, as they were not able to see the dhow (a traditional ship) from above,” Ferhan Sakal, head of excavation and site management at Qatar Museums.

There are about 12 notable petroglyph sites in Qatar, located mostly along the country’s coasts — though some carvings can even be seen in the heart of Doha’s Al Bidda Par, overlooking the Corniche, a popular waterfront promenade.

The most prominent pattern involves two parallel rows of seven holes, leading some to believe that these were used to play mancala, a board game popular in many parts of the world since antiquity in which two contestants drop odd and even numbers of small stones into the depressions.

These creations provide important information about the types of vessels used in the thriving fishing and pearling industries, as well as their various elements.

Most of the boats seen from above are usually fish-shaped with pointed sterns and rows of oars, carved with a pointed metal tool.

They contain several details, such as crossing ribs and holes likely showing the placing of masts and thwarts.

Visitors should remember to take water with them and wear a hat and sunscreen when wandering among the carvings to ponder their meaning.

The fenced site does not have any shaded areas, so the best times to visit are at sunrise and sunset. Al Jassasiya is located just south of the popular Azerbaijani Beach, so an excursion there can also be combined with a relaxing day beside the sea.

Source: Agencies

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