Oasis Across The Middle East North Africa
By: Anthony Bayyouk / Arab America Contributing Writer
The Sahara Desert is the largest desert in the world located in Northern Africa. The desert covers most of Northern Africa and is set to be larger than the United States and more. Believe It or Not, underneath the Sahara Desert dry sand is one of the largest supplies of water. Scattered across the Sahara are many oases that you would not expect to find in dry geography. These oases have been providing civilization with water and crops for thousands of years. The oases are very important economically because not only do they supply an abundance of water and crops. The oases are also a place for merchants to stop and rest while they are trading across Northern Africa. The movies depict the oasis as small pools of water with maybe a palm tree and some grass. Yet they’re actually the opposite Oasis are very large with fields of grass and many villages surrounded. The true history we have learned is that Civilization by Nature builds their homes Next to water. Common Crops found around Oasis are citrus fruits, cotton, corn, dates, and olives. The oases are supported by underground water sources called aquifers. Aquifers are a layer of rock underneath the earth that holds water. Continued human work is essential to keep the oasis healthy, the land around the oasis must be cultivated each year.
People who own land and businesses around the oasis can be very profitable. Because Oases are scattered across the Sahara Desert it may take days to go from one to another. Travelers are forced to stop at almost every Oasis they pass in order to fill up on water and food if they want to continue their trip safely. One of the largest in the world is the Nile river that runs through Egypt and Sudan and pours out into the Mediterranean sea. We know from history that for thousands of years civilizations have been building homes around the Nile. And even today 95% 102 million Egyptians live along the Nile. Below we have listed just a few Oasis across northern Africa.
The Oasis Awjila is located in northeastern Libya. For centuries Awjila has been known as an oasis that produces high-quality dates. The oasis is located on the east-west caravan route between Egypt and Tripoli, and on the north-south route between Benghazi and the Sahel. In the past, it was a very important trading route and most recently it has become an oil hub. The Oasis temperatures can reach a low of 67 degrees Fahrenheit in January and by June the temperatures will go up 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Herodotus mentions Awjila in his writing about Africa between ( 484-425BC). Awjila has also frequently appeared in the works of Arab geographers for centuries. It is also the last remaining enclave where Berber is spoken.
There is one Oasis that lies in Morocco on the northwestern edge of the Sahara desert. Tata oasis is located in a canyon watered by three wadis descending from Mount Bani. The Oasis is home to thirty villages that Build their home out of pink clay. The inhabitants of the village are partially Berbers. Some of the crops cultivated in tata are lemon, olives, oranges, and almonds. Over the years Tata has become a tourist attraction. Tourists can either tour tat by foot or on a bike. The beautiful endless palm trees will make you forget that you’re even in a desert.
North Africa is filled with oases including Ouargla located in southern Algeria. Ouargla is one of the main oases in Algeria. The Oasis receives its water from underground Sahara aquifers. Over the years occupants of the Oasis have dug wells into the aquifers together with as much water as possible and fulfill the growing agriculture in the area. Because the oases receive little rainwater, drilling wells is essential. The oasis was settled 1000 AD by Muslims of the Kharijite sect, who were fleeing religious persecution. It became a small city-state that, from the 16th century, paid tribute to the Turks. The town was conquered by French forces in 1853. Today the Oasis is under threat of disappearing because of the mass migration to the oases from Algerian in the north.
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