Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tarut Fort

This is a trip that will take you back in time. I have been to this island many times before but nowadays I could hardly feel it’s an island. The narrow land bridge that used to separate the island of Tarut from the mainland is hardly visible. There is a newly constructed bridge to the south that connects Qatif to Darin. The central part of the island is famous for its Fort located at around N 26.34.240 E 50.03.828 .

"The fort is believed to have been built by the Portuguese in 1592 … It sits on a mound formed by successive layers of occupation, reaching back to the third millennium. The earliest references to the Land of Dilmun are nowadays taken to mean this part of the mainland of Saudi ..." Jon Carter reports in his book Desert Treks from Al-Khobar.

There is a rich history that surrounds this island and is interesting as you will see a different face of Saudi that you don't normally see in the big cities. It is somewhat reminiscent of Bahrain which is not surprising as the two places are close to each other. A drive through the narrow streets of the island is a pleasant one. In the old days I used to visit the famous dhow harbor at Darin, at the southern tip of the island, which until recently was site for traditional boat building. Qasr or Palace of Ibrahim was once standing here in testimony to the wealth of the people who lived in this island. Unfortunately it is now gone. Sanabis is a small fishing harbor to the north with old buildings around. I decided to hide my cache here but later I learned that this was not a good place to hide. So I moved it a little to the west but it was later washed ashore. So finally I moved it south where it rests in peace, for now at least.

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