Tree of Life (Bahrain)
The Tree of Life (Shajarat-al-Hayat) in Bahrain is a 9.75 meters (32 feet) high Prosopis cineraria tree that is over 400 years old. It is on a hill in a barren area of the Arabian Desert, 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from Jebel Dukhan, the highest point in Bahrain, and 40 kilometers from Manama, the nearest city.
The tree is abundantly covered in green leaves. Due to its age and the fact that it is the only major tree growing in the area, the tree is a local tourist attraction and is visited by approximately 50,000 people every year. The yellow resin is used to make candles, aromatics and gum; the beans are processed into meal, jam, and wine.
It is not certain how the tree survives. Bahrain has little to no rain throughout the year. Its roots are 50 meters deep which may be enough to reach the water source. Others say the tree has learned to extract moisture from grains of sand. Some assert that the tree is protected by Enki, a god of water in Babylonian and Sumerian religion. Others claim that the tree is standing in what was once the Garden of Eden, and so has a more mystical source of water.
In October 2010, archaeologists unearthed 500-year-old pottery and other artifacts in the vicinity of the tree. A soil and dendrochronology analysis conducted in the 1990s concluded that the tree was an Acacia planted in 1582.