Sites & cities that bear the name of Qatif


Today in : Saudi Arabia
First trace of activity : ca. 3,500 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : الخَطّ, Al-Khatt, Al-Qatif, ٱلْقَطِيف‎

Description : Qatif or Al-Qatif (Arabic: ٱلْقَطِيف‎ Al-Qaṭīf) is a governorate and urban area located in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. It extends from Ras Tanura and Jubail in the north to Dammam in the south, and from the Persian Gulf in the east to King Fahd International Airport in the west. This region has its own municipality and includes the Qatif downtown and many other smaller cities and towns. Qatif is one of the oldest settlements in Eastern Arabia, its history going back to 3500 BC. Before the discovery of oil, Qatifi people used to work as merchants, farmers, and fishermen. However, in recent years, after the discovery of oil and establishment of Jubail Industrial City, most Qatifi people tend to work in the oil industry, public services, education and health-care sectors. Qatif functioned for centuries as the most important trade port in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The term Qatif is derived from what translates to "harvest" or "grain", signifying the area's past agricultural history. The historic oasis area shows its first archaeological evidence of settlement beginning about 3500 BC. It was known by other names, such as Al-Khatt (الخَطّ), immortalized in the poetry of Antarah ibn Shaddad, Tarafa ibn Al-`Abd, Bashar ibn Burd (in his famous Ba'yya), and others. The word "Khatty" became the preferred "kenning" for "spear" in traditional poetic writing until the dawn of the modern era, supposedly because the region was famous for spear making, just as "muhannad" ("of India") was the preferred kenning for "sword". The older name also survives as the eponym of several well-known local families ("Al-Khatti", spelled variously in English). Until the advent of Ottoman rule in the 18th century, Qatif belonged to the historical region known as the Province of Bahrain, along with Al-Hasa and the present-day Bahrain islands. In 899 the Qarmatians conquered the region with the oases of Qatif and Al-Hasa. They declared themselves independent and reigned from al-Mu'miniya near modern Hofuf until 1071. The Buyids of western Persia raided Qatif in 988. From 1071 until 1253 the Uyunids ruled the region first from the city of "al-Hasa" (predecessor to modern Hofuf) and later from Qatif. In 1253 the Usfurids rose from Al-Hasa and ruled during the struggle of Qays with the Hormuz for control of the coast. Probably at about this time, Qatif became the main port for the mainland surpassing 'Uqair in importance for the trade and thus became the capital of the Usfurids. Ibn Battuta, visited Qatif in 1331 and found it a large and prosperous city inhabited by Arab tribes whom he described as "extremist Shi`is". Power shifted in 1440 to the Jabrids of the Al-Hasa oasis.

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