Articles/The history and beauty of Dareen Island

The history and beauty of Dareen Island

جزيرة دارين ثروة وطنية في المملكة

30 DEC 2019


Source: Nadeen Al-Wazani

Visitors to the Eastern Province should consider checking out Dareen Island, the second largest island in the Arabian Gulf after Bahrain. Also known as Tarut Island, it covers an area of 32 square kilometers and is one of the oldest and most important commercial seaports in the city of Qatif, serving as the main gateway for imported goods into the Arabian Peninsula. Its earliest settlement of the Canaanite Phoenician people dates back to 5,000 BC; around 10 villages were established, many of which were surrounded by a large wall from all sides. However, these villages have disappeared over time. The island gets very humid in summer but temperatures are mild in winter.

Ancient Dareen

The name Dareen Island is mentioned in reports by Alexander the Great’s soldiers concerning the Gulf region that date back to around 300 BC. Researchers have also found coins dating back to the Sassanid era that were used until the beginning of the Umayyad Caliphate in the year 77 AH. It was also mentioned by ancient Arab poets and in pre-Islamic history books more than 1,500 years ago. The inhabitants of this island have been known since the ancient times for being proficient fishermen and pearl hunters to support themselves.


There are many archaeological and tourist attractions that attract visitors to Dareen, including:

Tarut Traditional Café: Built from palm fronds, this restaurant serves traditional folk cuisine that evoke memories of an ancient heritage.

Tarut Castle: This historical building is also called the Portuguese castle because it was attacked by Portuguese invaders. It is surrounded by a great wall and interspersed with four towers, giving the castle its military character; it was used to fortify soldiers and store supplies.

Ain Al-Awda: Also called Ain Al-Halloum, this is a natural sulfur subterranean water pool dating back 4,000 years.

Palace of Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab Al-Faihani: This is also known as the Palace of Muhammad Pasha and was built in 1303 AH.

Al-Qatif Museum of Civilization: This fascinating building contains many archeological and historical collections.

Dareen Corniche: The Corniche covers the southeastern side of the island.

Dareen Port: This is one of the most important and famous ports, dating back 120 years. Imported goods such as musk, perfumes, swords, textiles and spices were received from India, silk textiles from China, and quintessentially Arabian goods such as incense and ivory from the East African coast. These good were then exported all over the Arab region.