A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Old Town in Umm al-Qaiwain

In over three and a half years of blogging, and over 3,000 posts, a search suggests  I have had only one story about Umm al-Qaiwain. which, along with ‘Ajman, competes for the title of least well known of the seven Emirates in the UAE.

Good news for you Umm al-Qaiwain enthusiasts: my second UAQ post! The National  has an interesting article on the "old town" of Umm al-Qaiwain, the old quarter now primarily a market, Often there is so little to be found of the pre-oil Gulf in most Gulf cities — mostly an old fort, or an old mosque — that I find such articles informative. rather like browsing through Lorimer's Gazeteer.

The article concludes:
Other buildings, particularly the rundown and abandoned ones, receive far fewer visitors, at least of the human kind.
"They are haunted by jinn, so we don't go near them," says Ahmed, an Emirati in his 20s shopping at a grocery store, as he looks towards one such house.
The store owner nods his head in agreement. "Old towns always have one or two haunted houses," he says. "It is part of their charm."

1 comment:

David Mack said...

As a diplomatic predecessor in the UAE told me, nobody remembers who Qaiwain was. I like to think the name refers to two Nestorian icons found on that site, but I never found evidence of that. The market was totally forgettable, unless you hanker for Chinese plastic ware, but the fort by the Gulf shore is one of the more picturesque in the Emirates. I'll read the article in The National.