Thought Farasan is all about the beaches? Think again.
While the sea is definitely an important aspect in the daily life of any resident of Farasan and a lot of tourism activity on the islands centers around it, there is more to the island that what may appear at first. You may have to go a bit off the beaten track to get to these places.
1. Mangrove Forests
Mangrove Forests are one of the last things that you’d probably associate with Arabia but here in Saudi we actually do have them on the Farasan Islands. The coastal brackish waters allow Mangroves to thrive on the several parts of the islands. You can hire a boat to explore them better.
2. Ottoman Fort
The Ottomans have left behind many forts in the country, most of them in the Hejaz region. What’s special about this one is that it is one of those rare Ottoman forts found outside the Hejaz. Located atop a rocky hill crop, the fort offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding plains. Though not large in size, the fort is worth the visit as it one of the oldest surviving structures on the island.
3. Beit Refai
Pearl merchants and traders were the richest people on the island. This particular house belonged to an eminent pearl merchant Munawar Al Refai. The intricate carvings on the gypsum walls are what makes this historic house famous besides the fact that it was constructed almost a century ago.
4. Qassar Heritage Village
Like most of the other things to see in Farasan, the Qassar Heritage Village is also located on the Farasan Kabir Island. The village is said to be one of the oldest inhabited areas of the archipelago, with some suggesting that it goes back to the Roman times. Its unique architecture comprising of houses and walls made of coral beckons tourists.
5. Najdi Mosque
From the outside, it is just like any other mosque but it is in the fine details on the inside that one gets to get an idea of Farasan’s distinct architectural and design heritage.