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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Umm Slal Mohammed: forts and streams

In addition to its more famous Barzan Towers Umm Slal Mohammed forts Umm Slal Mohammed has two older forts – though given their size fortified houses might be a better name for them. They are located closer to the centre of town then the Barzan Towers, one by the mosque and the other opposite within a larger complex of houses.

Neither of them allow visitors to enter; the first is falling apart while the second appears, from the satellite dishes that sprout from it, to appear to be still in use.

The area around these forts is fascinating. On Tiny stream in Umm Slal Mohammad one side there is a plantation of dead palm trees,which looks like something out of a war-zone. Climb down into them, and you’ll still see the way the earth has been built up around them to trap any available water. And water was (and is) available – a massive well (be careful if you are with children – it's not fenced off) is present, with murky water at the bottom and an ancient Hudderfield pump still present at the top.

Directly behind one of the forts is one of the greenest areas I have seen in Qatar. Not only does it have grass, there’s a tiny little brook flowing through it, and it' s truly refreshing to hear the sound of running water in dry Qatar! With this unusual water and greenery, there are also a lot of birds and bird song to be heard.

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Listen to the sound of the brook.

The Barzan Towers

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