Sharjah Mleiha Archaeological Centre

The Mleiha Archaeological Centre was inaugurated by the Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi in 2016. The centre features a carefully curated exhibition based on the rich archaeology of the area surrounding the village of Mleiha in the Emirate.  Built around a rare preserved Umm Al Nar Tomb, the centre offers a detailed explanation into the many excavations and discoveries undertaken in the last four decades at Mleiha and its neighbouring areas.   A total of DHs 250 million was invested into the eco-tourism tourist development which included, accommodation, a campsite and astronomical observatory.

The extensive evidence within the Mleiha area dates back to around 130,000 years ago during the Palaeolithic period and includes human settlements around the time of the first migration from Africa to the rest of the world. Neolithic communities established themselves in the area about 11,000 ago following the last Ice Age. Civilizations evolved during the Bronze Age from 3,000 BCE onwards. The communal tombs including the Umm Al Nar Tomb all date from around this period. During the course of the later centuries leading up to the present day, inhabitants introduced the Falaj irrigation system with the cultivation of dates and other types of crops.

In around 300 BCE the extensively fortified compound, Mleiha Fort was built as the possible seat of a South Arabian Kingdom. The Mleiha period or the Late Pre-Islamic period takes place at around 300 BCE with artefacts discovered dating from the period. Mleiha has enjoyed strong ties to the ancient city of Ed-Dur where Macedonian style coinage dating back to Alexander the Great were found.

Excavations continue today with the most recent discovery found in February of 2021 when a trove of some 409 Hellenistic era coins were found in a clay pot at Mleiha.

With its rich history, endless collection of artefacts and settlement remains, Mleiha is regarded as the most comprehensive site of human settlement from the post Iron Age era in the country. It was also here that a plethora of iron made items including nails, long swords and arrowheads was found.

The Mleiha Archaeological Centre offers a detailed look at this phenomenal part of the country’s national heritage and boasts the delectable Bystro Café, a fully stocked gift shop and a range of guided excursions. The Centre also has an education outreach program and offers horse riding packages for every rider.

The Mleiha Archaeological Centre is open every day from 9 am to 7 pm Saturday through to Thursday.

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