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A Look At The Oldest Mosques In Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia

Time to explore! 

In the south east of Saudi Arabia is Al-Ahsa, home to one million people and the world’s largest oil fields, known as the largest governate in the country and for its modern city lifestyle, infrastructures, and some of the country's best attractions such as Al-Uqair Beach, Al-Ahsa Oasis, and Al-Gara Mountain! But, in between the urban living and popular destinations is also some of the Kingdom’s most cherished history and heritage buildings: the old mosques of Al-Ahsa such as Juwatha, Sheikh Abu Bakr, and Al-Habaysh Mosque, to name a few. 

Built using clay and mud bricks, Juwatha Mosque is believed to be among the oldest mosques in Al-Ahsa, dating back to the seventh century. Its distinct architecture demonstrates the old ways structures were built during that era in ancient Arabia, resembling a small-scaled version of the iconic Masmak Fort. It is still in use till this day. 

Another iconic mosque is Sheikh Abu Bakr, named after Sheikh Abdullah Abi Bakr. Built nearly 300 years ago, this single-dome mosque is located in the sheikh's hometown known for its Sharia law schools, in the old neighborhood of Al-Kut, which is regarded as one of the oldest in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province.

Although not as old as some of Al-Ahsa’s other mosques, Al-Habaysh Mosque, which dates back to the 13 century AH, so just over 100 to 200 years ago, serves as an important institution for students of religious science. It has a simple, yet elegant, architecture, with limestone walls and ceiling made up of bamboo sticks, reflecting the architectural designs that were common at the time.

Many of Al-Ahsa’s mosques are now recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but such a status not only puts them amongst Al-Ahsa's favorite destinations, it also comes with urgency to preserve these marvelous structures from being lost. In fact, the mosques are amongst 30 structures benefiting from restoration efforts by Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Project for the Development of Historic Mosques. Following these ongoing efforts, some of the mosques now have modern lighting, air-conditioning, furnishing, and painted walls, with added facilities catering to women and those with disabilities. 

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