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Natural UAE

CLICK FOR SECTION MAP Dalma Island

Dalma island some 30 kilometres offshore is a salt-dome island with a central hilly interior of pre-Cambrian age. The island is only about 5 km in diameter at its widest point, but has played an important role in UAE history and prehistory. Some 200 wells are reputed to have once existed, with freshwater certainly being supplied to Abu Dhabi island until the 1950s.

The island has been inhabited for at least 7000 years with the country's oldest known permanent settlement, dating back to the Late Stone Age, having been excavated. Trade with the 'Ubaid civilisation (Mesopotamia) is evident from finds, with a flourishing pearling trade having once existed. A surviving pearl merchant's house has been preserved.Today, a sizable fishing fleet is permanently based on the island and the home port is characterised by traditional wood built dhows as seen in the photograph.

The cliffed coastline supports several breeding pairs of sooty falcons (Falco concolor), while the agricultural areas attract many migrant birds in both spring and autumn.

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