Thursday, February 22, 2007

Murabbaa Fort - #5



Front Gate, Murabbaa Fort, Al Ain

The Murabbaa Fort, named for the area of Al Ain in which it sits, was built by Sheikh Zayed in the 1940's. At that time he was still Ruler's Representative of the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi. His brother Sheikh Shakboot was still ruler of Abu Dhabi. In 1966, he would succeed his brother as Ruler of Abu Dhabi and then five years later became the first President of the UAE, a position he held until his death a little more than two years ago.

The fort was one of several in and around Al Ain built to protect the nearby oases from raiders. It was also used as an administrative and police center.

The gate has the very common eight-pointed star motif. This pattern reoccurs almost everywhere as a decoration here in Al Ain.

6 comments:

Zsolt72 said...

very nice gate!

Chris & Deb said...

those doors are magnificent!
I've gotta ask though...is that smaller opening a doggy door? :)

Brn said...

thanks everyone,

It does kind of look like that, but actually the doors are about 12 feet tall. The small door is so people can get in and out but cars can't.

Kate said...

Interesting door/gate!

Kim said...

Lovely photo! And thanks for pointing out the 8 pointed stars. Do you have any information on why 8 points and, since its such a prevalent design in the area, what the significance is?

Does the oasis the fort was built to protect still have water?
thanks,
-Kim

Brn said...

hi kim,

My non-expert understanding of Islamic art and architecture is that representations of living things are forbidden (at least by many interpretations), and so geometric designs flourished. If you google Islamic art, you can see lots of examples of this.

The oasis does still have water and thousands of date palms. The water for the date palms in the oasis has always come from a falaj irrigation system, which runs underground and then is channeled with trenches when it emerges. I'll put some photos of the oasis itself and the falaj channels at some point.

You can see the size of the oasis on a satellite photo here.