Archaeologists working on Sir Bani Yas Island near Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, recently discovered that before Islam became the dominant religion of the Gulf, there had once been Christian settlements across these drylands. The remains of a Christian monastery dating back to 600AD remains one of the island’s oldest sites to have ever been unearthed. Prior to this discovery, it had previously been unknown as to whether Christians travelled this far South and East in the Arabian Gulf. The settlement is believed to have been of approximately 30-40 monks, taking Christianity farther than it had ever been before. Travellers looking to learn more about this unexpected twist of history can now opt to stay at one of the many Abu Dhabi resorts in the area such as Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resorts .
The monastery is of Nestorian Christian origin found within Eastern Christianity. The monastery complex remains the sole pre-Islamic Christian site to have ever been found in the UAE and is presumed to have been a key stop for pilgrims travelling along the trade route to India. The site is expected to have drawn in many visitors due to it possibly having been founded by a saint or a holy figure. Although remains of only one body have been found, the interesting fact is that the complex has been built around a grave which could have in fact been that of the founder of this settlement.
The settlement seems to have remained until around 750AD, thereby continuing for at least a century after the arrival of Islam into the region. Once Islam continued to spread and thrive in the Gulf, this relatively smaller Christian community would have gradually declined. Evidence based on the excavation proves that the monastery was indeed abandoned strife-free.
Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+