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Liwa Oasis

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Title: Liwa Oasis  
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Liwa Oasis

Location in the United Arab Emirates
The satellite image shows the location of the belt of oases along the northern reaches of the Rub al Khali dune fields. The unmarked border with Saudi Arabia is shown as a red line. To the north, irrigated areas along the highway to Tarif on the coast of the Persian Gulf are visible.
Map of the United Arab Emirates
Highway connecting the villages of the Liwa Oasis

The Liwa Oasis (واحة ليوا in Arabic) is a large oasis area in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.


Liwa Oasis is about 100 km south of the Persian Gulf coast and 150 km SSW of the city of Abu Dhabi in the Al Gharbia (Western) Region, on the northern edge of Rub' al Khali desert. It is centered around and stretches about 100 km east-west, along an arch curved to the north. It consists of some 50 villages. The geographic and economic center of the oasis is Muzayri`, where the highway from Abu Dhabi enters the oasis and then divides to the east (65 km to the easternmost village, Mahdar Bin `Usayyan) and west (45 km to the westernmost village, `Aradah).

According to the census of population of 2005, the population was 20,196.[1] Earlier estimates judging from satellite images which gauged the population at 50,000 to 150,000, were too high.[2]

The villages of Liwa Oasis are the southernmost settlements of Abu Dhabi and of the United Arab Emirates. The southern border of Abu Dhabi with Saudi Arabia, which runs at a distance between 16 and 35 km to the Oasis, is a straight line in the Rub al Khali desert, which is largely uninhabited. Mahdar Bin `Usayyan is the southernmost village of the Emirates, and also the easternmost of the oasis. 10 km south of the border, and 40 km south of the eastern part of the oasis is the Saudi oil facility Shaybah. However, there is no road linking Liwa Oasis and Shaybah, and no border crossing.

A modern, multilane highway connects the oasis area to the capital, Abu Dhabi.


An important traditional branch of the economy is date farming. There is a widespread use of drip irrigation and greenhouses. The importance of tourism is on the rise. Liwa Hotel in Muzayri` boasts four stars. Liwa Rest House, in the same village and run by the government of Abu Dhabi, is the second establishment in the oasis. It is primarily aimed at minor officials and businessmen. Construction has begun on a third, 5 star, resourt (named Qasr Al Sarab). The nearby Moreeb dune, 22 km south of Muzayri` on a small road (15 km as the crow flies), with 300 meter height one of the largest dunes in the world, attracts every year during the Liwa festival a large number of international and local visitors coming to see the offroad and camel racing events.


The oasis is the place of birth of the ruling families of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In 1793, the ruling family Al Nahyan moved their residence from Liwa to the city of Abu Dhabi.[3]

Traditionally, men from Liwa (Bani Yas tribe) were pearl divers on the coast during the summer months. Pearl diving offered an additional source of income.


The USGS Geographic Names Database[4] lists 39 populated places in the area of the oasis, which are listed from west to east in the following table. Some of the more important villages are printed in bold.

Village Arabic Coordinates
`Aradah عرادة
Milqatah ملقطة
Al `Idd العيد
Al Mariyah al Gharbiyah المارية الغربية
Humar حمار
Khannur خنور
Hamarur حمرور
Taraq طرق
Mujib مجيب
Kayyah كية
Zuwayhir ظويهر
Wafd وفد
Umm al Qurayn أم القرين
Qutuf قطوف
Al Atir العاطر
Al Mariyah المارية
Zafir ظفير
Jayf جيف
Muzayri` مظيري
Nafir نافر
Huwaylah حويلة
Qurmidah قرمدة
Hafif هفيف \ حفيف
`Attab عتاب
Shah شاه
Huwaytayn حويطين
Sabkhah سبخة
Al Hadhi الهذي
Tharwaniyah ثروانية
Al Mashrub المشرب
An Nashshash النشاش
Dahin داهن
Wadhil واظل
Mawsil موصل
Al Khis الخيس
Qu`aysah قويسة
Hamim حميم
Jurayrah جريرة
Mahdar Bin `Usayyan مهدر بن عصيان


  1. ^ Abu Dhabi Report
  2. ^ "Liwa Oasis". Lexiorient. Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  3. ^ Motohiro, Ono (March 2011). "Reconsideration of the Meanings of the Tribal Ties in the United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi Emirate in Early ʼ90s". Kyoto Bulletin of Islamic Area Studies 4–1 (2): 25–34. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Complete Files of Geographic Names for Geopolitical Areas from GNS (ISO/IEC 10646 [Unicode UTF-8]". Retrieved 2012-07-05. 
  • Liwa Desert Sightseeing Tour
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