UAE rebuilding region's sun temple, brick by brick
UAE restores only Sun Temple in Arabian Peninsula. Archaeologists have completed the first phase of restoration works at the site of the only sun temple in Umm Al Quwain. The temple at the historical site of Ed Dur was used to worship the sun god Shamash in the first century. Supplied photo
Umm Al Quwain - The Aramaic inscription found at the temple mentioned the name of the sun deity Shamash, throwing light on the fact that the deity was worshipped in the region some 2000 years ago.
The UAE is rebuilding the only sun temple discovered in the region, brick by brick, literally.
The remains of the temple used for worshipping the solar deity in the first century were discovered in the midst of the desert in Ed-Dur historical site in Umm Al Quwain in the late 1980s. Ed-Dur is one of the six historical sites the UAE has nominated as Unesco World Heritage Sites.
The Aramaic inscription found at the temple mentioned the name of the sun deity Shamash, throwing light on the fact that the deity was worshipped in the region some 2000 years ago.
Four altars, a well, the remains of two eagle statues, traces of ritual fires, and a stone possibly used for sacrifices were also found after excavations at the site.
The altars and walls discovered at the pagan temple by a Belgian archeaologist, however, deteriorated over the years.
Dr. Zaki Aslan, director of ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah, which is supervising and development and conservation of the temple in collaboration with other governmental agencies told Khaleej Times that efforts have been on to protect the temple from further deterioration and restore it to the state in which it was discovered.
The eagles and some other objects from the site have been moved to the museum while the rest of the temple structure is getting reconstructed using traditional methods and materials.
"We are trying to reproduce the temple as it was found in the 80s," said Dr Aslan.
He said the first phase of the restoration has been over and the final phase will be completed within six months.
"We numbered all the stones which were fallen, and they were put back in their original place to keep the archeological authenticity of the site," he said.
Anwar Sabik, project coordinator from the centre said the partial reconstruction of the wall of the temple, which had niches where the idols might have been berthed, has been done using putty lime (for rebuilding the fallen stones), hydraulic lime (to inject inside the cracks and support the plaster) and nano lime (for consolidating the fine parts of the plaster).
More hydraulic lime will be used in the next stage of restoration works. The experts are using the "before and after" 3D models of the site to facilitate the highly restricted restoration project of the ancient site.