Just An Hour Away From Dubai, This Abandoned Village, Al Ghuraifa, Holds History Close To Its Heart

by Deeplata Garde
Just An Hour Away From Dubai, This Abandoned Village, Al Ghuraifa, Holds History Close To Its Heart

The bedazzling land of Dubai was once a desert. And just as Dubai and other emirates rose to fame, some were left behind in sand dunes. So here’s one such hidden gem that you can explore if you are tired of the shining skyscrapers. Explore the mysteries of the abandoned village of UAE.

Al-Ghuraifa, The Lost Village Has Memories Buried In Sand

Pic Creds: Flickr

Al-Ghuraifa stands as a forsaken desert village in UAE. It’s situated an hour’s drive away from Dubai. Originally erected during the 1970s to provide shelter for semi-nomadic Bedouin communities, the village was deserted two decades later. Why? The influx of oil wealth propelled the nation into a global epicentre of trade and tourism, giving rise to the futuristic cityscapes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Eventually leaving behind this village in the desert.

In recent times, this spectral village close to the town of al-Madam within the Sharjah emirate has metamorphosed into a captivating tourist destination. It offers a break from the urban sprawl of coastal cities. You can soak in a tantalizing glimpse into the rugged past of the Emirates. Comprising dual rows of dwellings and a mosque, the village’s historical value is not lost.

The exact catalyst for the village’s abandonment, just two decades after its construction, remains shrouded in mystery. While local folklore attributes it to malevolent spirits, a more plausible explanation is the pursuit of improved livelihoods in the rapidly expanding cities of the UAE. Presently, the desert landscape is slowly reclaiming the village. Drifts of sand have permeated the homes, veiling walls and nearly encroaching upon the ceilings in certain chambers.

Also Read: What Are Drinking Laws In The UAE? Take Note Of These Before Visiting The Region

House Of The Beoudin Tribe Is Now An Abandoned Village In The UAE

Abandoned Village
Pic Creds: Canva

Presently abandoned village was born out of a public housing initiative following the establishment of the United Arab Emirates Federation in 1971. The village’s inception coincided with the early stages of the country’s oil-driven transformation. Around 100 members of the al-Ketbi tribe found solace within Al-Ghuraifa’s walls. These tribes, including the al-Ketbi, led semi-nomadic lives, tending to livestock, and journeying through desert oases. They occasionally visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi when these locales were modest port towns reliant on fishing and pearl diving.

Designed with regional nuances in mind, the modern cement houses aimed to facilitate the shift towards a settled lifestyle. Interior walls adorned with vibrant hues and mosaic embellishments paid homage to local aesthetics. Notably, these residences featured spaces earmarked for village elders to convene in gatherings referred to as “majlis” in Arabic. Intriguingly, one house showcased wallpaper depicting lush green landscapes, serving as a vivid contrast to the uniform expanse of sand outside.

Al-Ghuraifa emerges as a concealed treasure, presenting visitors with an extraordinary window into the heritage and culture of the UAE.

Cover Image Courtesy: Wikipedia