Al-Qatif, an oasis city occupying 160km2 of land, interestingly is in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia near the Arabian Gulf bounded with Bayadh Desert in North. 20km to the South is Dammam, which is the capital of the eastern province and Ras Tanura and Jubail towards the north. It has a strategic position with numerous Palm trees, pearls, famous for dates, and best for immigrants including Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, and Hittites. Qatif’s literal meaning is “grain” signifying that it has some very important rich agricultural soil best for farming purpose and largest fishing markets and some rocky protruding surfaces. There are residential quarters for workers and oil-gas separator plants. The waters of Persian Gulf are rich and diverse in marine life. Al Dahna desert is on the west mixed with rocky surface.[irp]
Inhabitants: It has a population of about half million with increasing peaks living in its 20 villages, towns and cities with some names as follows: Al-Khuwaildiya, Darin, Al-Malaha, Abu-Maen, Al-Jarodiya, Hellat Muhaish, Al-Hamam, Al-Bahari, Al-Nabya, Sanabees, Al-Rabi’yah, Tarout, and Al-Awamyah. It is inhabited from Stone Age with inhabitants including businessmen and government employees, fishermen, and farmers. The majority population was Shias who support our Prophet’s son-in-law, Hazrat Ali (R.A). During Ashura, they dress black and mourn the death of Imam Hussain (R.A).
Climate: Because it is surrounded by arid deserts the climate is extremely humid and hot reaching 49 degrees. Even winters reach up to 19 degrees which are temperate and very few rains.
History: Qatif, for a long time used to be a very important port for trading purposes in Arab side. Back in 3,500BC, it was known as Al-Khatt meaning “spear”. It was conquered by Qarmatians in 899. During the Ottoman-Saudi war in 1,818, it was destroyed with Ibrahim Pasha taking the control. Ibn e Saud in 1913 finally ruled the Saudi region. Before Islam, it was known for its brave war techniques. Due to its strong supporters, Islam spread fast in Qatif and Al-Hassa by our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Places to Visit in Qatif
Tarut Citadel or Tarut fortress: It is an ancient castle said to be built on ruins of the structure of the gods of the Phoenicians. It was built for defense purpose from Portuguese attackers with gypsum, stones and terracotta material. There are 4 huge towers and looks like a fort with bridges and secret passages in it to be used during the war.
Al-Khamee's Market: It is basically an open-air market on Thursdays. It is a traditional market with wide variety of goods, clothes, stones and handicrafts
Qasr Darin: It is also a historical castle with an area of 8.3 sq. km. it was built by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab Al Fayhani. It was famous for pearl trade and was built to protect this trade.
Fish Market: it is the largest fish market where fishermen, traders, foreign workers and normal customers buy and sell tons of fishes, shrimps, and others with huge profits. The market opens every day.
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