History and culture lovers visiting the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi should make it a point to visit the well known site of the Christian monastery which may be found on Sir Bani Yas Island. Although only the remnants of this monastery may be seen today, the heritage and significance of the site make it a popular visitor attraction.
The location provides an idea of the monastery and church of the Nestorian Church which once stood at the site. It has provided an invaluable insight into the pre-Islamic cultures of the region; this settlement also has the distinction of being the sole permanent habitation in the history of Sir Bani Yas Island.
The findings at the site indicate that once an entire compound stood at the location, with pride of place going to the church. This complex would also have included the cells of monks, animal enclosures and kitchens positioned around a central courtyard. A number of these buildings have been unearthed by archaeologists.
The discoveries unearthed at the site have provided experts with a great deal of knowledge about this ancient era. The monastery is thought to have been a destination of note for pilgrims journeying along trading routes to India and the Orient. The discoveries provide evidence that Christianity had spread much further into the Gulf region than was previously believed.
The main church at the site is built surrounding the grave of a single individual, who is accordingly believed to be the saint who initiated the founding of the monastery. Persons from different localities are believed to have lived at the settlement, including natives of the region, people of other Gulf areas and those from as far away as Iraq, Bahrain and India.
It is believed that the settlement was abandoned without evidence of violence or bloodshed around the year 750. The fact that the monastery continued to function after the spread of Islam is considered to be evidence of the amity between the two religions.
The discerning traveller to the Emirate who desires Abu Dhabi villas will be pleased by the Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villas. One of the attractive resorts Abu Dhabi offers this appealing rest offers fine accommodations with an array of amenities.
Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.