Liwa Oasis

Coordinates: 23°39′08″N 53°39′13″E / 23.652222°N 53.653611°E / 23.652222; 53.653611 (Madinat Zayed)
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Liwa Oasis
وَاحَـة لِـيْـوَا
A falaj in Qasr Al Sarab, Liwa Oasis.
A falaj in Qasr Al Sarab, Liwa Oasis.
Liwa Oasis is located in United Arab Emirates
Liwa Oasis
Liwa Oasis
Location of Sila in the UAE
Coordinates: 23°39′08″N 53°39′13″E / 23.652222°N 53.653611°E / 23.652222; 53.653611 (Madinat Zayed)
Country United Arab Emirates
Emirate Abu Dhabi
Municipal regionAl Gharbia
 • TypeAbsolute monarchy
 • EmirMohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
 • Ruler's Representative of the Western Region of the Emirate of Abu DhabiHamdan bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
 • Total20,192[1]
Time zoneUTC+4 (UAE Standard Time)

The Liwa Oasis (Arabic: وَاحَـة لِـيْـوَا, romanizedWāḥḥat Līwā) is a large oasis area in the Western Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.[2]


The satellite image shows the location of the belt of oases along the northern reaches of the Rub al Khali dune fields. The unmarked border with Saudi Arabia is shown as a red line. To the north, irrigated areas along the highway to Tarif on the coast of the Persian Gulf are visible.
Location in the United Arab Emirates
Date palm trees in Liwa Oasis

Liwa Oasis is about 97.6 km (60.6 mi) south of the Persian Gulf coast and 150 km (93 mi) southwest of the city of Abu Dhabi, on the northern edge of Rub' al Khali desert. It is centered around 23°08′N 53°46′E / 23.133°N 53.767°E / 23.133; 53.767 and stretches about 100 km (62 mi) east-west, along an arch curved to the north. It consists of some 50 villages. The geographic and economic center of the oasis is Muzayri`, where the highway from Abu Dhabi enters the oasis and then divides to the east (65 km (40 mi) to the easternmost village, Mahdar Bin `Usayyan) and west (45 km (28 mi) to the westernmost village, `Aradah). According to the census of population of 2005, the population was 20,196.[2] Earlier estimates judging from satellite images which gauged the population at 50,000 to 150,000, were too high.[3] The villages of Liwa Oasis are the southernmost settlements of Abu Dhabi and of the United Arab Emirates. The southern border of Abu Dhabi with Saudi Arabia, which runs at a distance between 16 and 35 km (9.9 and 21.7 mi) to the Oasis, is a straight line in the Rub al Khali desert, which is largely uninhabited. Mahdar Bin `Usayyan is the southernmost village of the Emirates, and also the easternmost of the oasis. 10 km (6.2 mi) south of the border, and 40 km (25 mi) south of the eastern part of the oasis is the Saudi oil facility Shaybah. However, there is no road linking Liwa Oasis and Shaybah, and no border crossing. A modern, multi-lane highway connects the oasis area to the capital, Abu Dhabi.


Sand dunes in Liwa Oasis.
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap

The USGS Geographic Names Database[4] lists 39 populated places in the area of the oasis, which are listed from west to east in the following table.

Village Arabic Coordinates
`Aradah عرادة 22°59′00″N 53°26′00″E / 22.98333°N 53.43333°E / 22.98333; 53.43333
Milqatah ملقطة 23°04′00″N 53°32′00″E / 23.06667°N 53.53333°E / 23.06667; 53.53333
Al-`Idd العيد 23°04′48″N 53°33′02″E / 23.08000°N 53.55056°E / 23.08000; 53.55056
Al-Mariyah al-Gharbiyah المارية الغربية 23°06′12″N 53°34′48″E / 23.10333°N 53.58000°E / 23.10333; 53.58000
Humar حمار 23°05′04″N 53°35′03″E / 23.08444°N 53.58417°E / 23.08444; 53.58417
Khannur خنور 23°06′14″N 53°36′05″E / 23.10389°N 53.60139°E / 23.10389; 53.60139
Hamarur حمرور 23°06′00″N 53°36′31″E / 23.10000°N 53.60861°E / 23.10000; 53.60861
Taraq طرق 23°06′50″N 53°36′41″E / 23.11389°N 53.61139°E / 23.11389; 53.61139
Mujib مجيب 23°07′00″N 53°41′00″E / 23.11667°N 53.68333°E / 23.11667; 53.68333
Kayyah جيه 23°09′30″N 53°41′05″E / 23.15833°N 53.68472°E / 23.15833; 53.68472
Zuwayhir ظويهر 23°08′22″N 53°41′36″E / 23.13944°N 53.69333°E / 23.13944; 53.69333
Wafd وفد 23°06′20″N 53°42′50″E / 23.10556°N 53.71389°E / 23.10556; 53.71389
Umm al Qurayn أم القرين 23°06′00″N 53°43′00″E / 23.10000°N 53.71667°E / 23.10000; 53.71667
Qutuf قطوف 23°06′36″N 53°43′29″E / 23.11000°N 53.72472°E / 23.11000; 53.72472
Al-Atir العاطر 23°09′50″N 53°44′07″E / 23.16389°N 53.73528°E / 23.16389; 53.73528
Al-Mariyah المارية 23°08′30″N 53°44′30″E / 23.14167°N 53.74167°E / 23.14167; 53.74167
Dhafeer ظفير 23°07′50″N 53°45′37″E / 23.13056°N 53.76028°E / 23.13056; 53.76028
Jayf جيف 23°09′44″N 53°46′28″E / 23.16222°N 53.77444°E / 23.16222; 53.77444
Muzayri مظيري 23°08′19″N 53°47′14″E / 23.13861°N 53.78722°E / 23.13861; 53.78722
Nafir نافر 23°06′00″N 53°48′00″E / 23.10000°N 53.80000°E / 23.10000; 53.80000
Huwaylah حويلة 23°09′19″N 53°49′26″E / 23.15528°N 53.82389°E / 23.15528; 53.82389
Qurmidah قرمدة 23°07′08″N 53°49′42″E / 23.11889°N 53.82833°E / 23.11889; 53.82833
Hafif هفيف \ حفيف 23°08′52″N 53°50′29″E / 23.14778°N 53.84139°E / 23.14778; 53.84139
`Attab عتاب 23°09′14″N 53°52′46″E / 23.15389°N 53.87944°E / 23.15389; 53.87944
Shah شاه 23°08′33″N 53°54′51″E / 23.14250°N 53.91417°E / 23.14250; 53.91417
Huwaytayn حويتين 23°06′51″N 53°55′52″E / 23.11417°N 53.93111°E / 23.11417; 53.93111
Sabkhah صبخة 23°07′50″N 53°59′11″E / 23.13056°N 53.98639°E / 23.13056; 53.98639
Al-Hadhi الهذي 23°06′57″N 53°59′48″E / 23.11583°N 53.99667°E / 23.11583; 53.99667
Tharwaniyah ثروانية 23°05′00″N 54°01′00″E / 23.08333°N 54.01667°E / 23.08333; 54.01667
Al Mashrub المشرب 23°04′00″N 54°01′00″E / 23.06667°N 54.01667°E / 23.06667; 54.01667
An-Nashshash النشاش 23°05′00″N 54°02′00″E / 23.08333°N 54.03333°E / 23.08333; 54.03333
Dahin داهن 23°04′00″N 54°05′00″E / 23.06667°N 54.08333°E / 23.06667; 54.08333
Wadhil واظل 23°03′00″N 54°08′00″E / 23.05000°N 54.13333°E / 23.05000; 54.13333
Mawsil موصل 23°01′00″N 54°09′00″E / 23.01667°N 54.15000°E / 23.01667; 54.15000
Al-Khis الخيس 23°00′00″N 54°12′00″E / 23.00000°N 54.20000°E / 23.00000; 54.20000
Quwaysah قويسة 22°59′00″N 54°14′00″E / 22.98333°N 54.23333°E / 22.98333; 54.23333
Hamim حميم 22°58′00″N 54°18′00″E / 22.96667°N 54.30000°E / 22.96667; 54.30000
Jurayrah جريرة 22°57′00″N 54°19′00″E / 22.95000°N 54.31667°E / 22.95000; 54.31667
Mahdar Bin `Usayyan مهدر بن عصيان 22°56′00″N 54°19′00″E / 22.93333°N 54.31667°E / 22.93333; 54.31667


A road in Liwa

An important traditional branch of the economy is date farming. There is a widespread use of drip irrigation and greenhouses. The importance of tourism is on the rise. There are several hotels in the area including the Liwa Hotel in Muzayri`, Tilal Liwa Hotel, the Liwa Rest House in the same village and run by the government of Abu Dhabi, and the resort Qasr Al Sarab.[5]

The nearby Moreeb dune (22°59′N 53°47′E / 22.983°N 53.783°E / 22.983; 53.783), 22 kilometres (14 miles) south of Muzayri`, is 300 metres (980 feet) high, and is one of the largest dunes in the world. It attracts people every year during the Liwa festival[6] a large number of international and local visitors coming to see the offroad and camel racing events.


The oasis is the place of birth of the ruling families of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In 1793, the ruling family Al Nahyan moved their residence from Liwa to the Abu Dhabi.[7]

Traditionally, men from Liwa (Bani Yas tribe) were pearl divers on the coast during the summer months. Pearl diving offered an additional source of income.

In popular culture[edit]

East of Liwa Oasis, in the Rub' Al Khali desert, was the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and it was used to represent Jakku, a desert planet.[8]

Desert scenes of Sonic the Hedgehog (film) were filmed in Liwa Oasis.[9]

The desert landscape of Liwa was filmed to represent the planet Arrakis in the 2021 film Dune.[10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Report: Abu Dhabi 2010. Oxford Business Group. 21 March 2019. ISBN 9781907065217 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b "Al Gharbia". The Report Abu Dhabi 2010. Oxford Business Group. 2010. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-9070-6521-7.
  3. ^ "Liwa Oasis". Lexiorient. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  4. ^ "Complete Files of Geographic Names for Geopolitical Areas from GNS (ISO/IEC 10646 [Unicode UTF-8]". Archived from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  5. ^ "Qasr Al Sarab Abu Dhabi". Retrieved May 9, 2023.
  6. ^ "Liwa International Festival / Moreeb Dune". Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Tourism Office. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  7. ^ Motohiro, Ono (March 2011). "Reconsideration of the Meanings of the Tribal Ties in the United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi Emirate in Early ʼ90s" (PDF). Kyoto Bulletin of Islamic Area Studies. 4–1 (2): 25–34. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  8. ^ "The harsh reality of building a 'Star Wars' fantasy in Abu Dhabi". LA Times. 3 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Watch: Key 'Sonic The Hedgehog' scenes were filmed in Abu Dhabi's Liwa desert". The National. 25 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Why Denis Villeneuve Shot 'Dune' During Abu Dhabi's Hottest Months: 'Strange Haze in the Air'". IndieWire. 27 September 2021.

External links[edit]

Media related to Liwa Oasis at Wikimedia Commons