Wadi Al Helo is a small town in the Emirate of Sharjah which is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The name literally means ‘The Sweet Valley’’ when translated from Arabic. It’s located about 100 km away from the center of Sharjah city and about 25 km away from the coastal city of Kalba.
Easiest way to reach here is by is by Sharjah – Kalba Road (E102). If you are travelling from Sharjah you will have to take a “U” turn just before the Kalba Tunnel and Helo valley is on the right side of the road. However the entrance is couple of kilometers further away from Kalba Tunnel.
Within the valley lies a historic village, several watchtowers and other archaeological remains that gives clues to the important role it has played in the history of the Emirate and the United Arab Emirates. For the last 80 years this area has been the home of the Al Mazroui tribe. The settlers main occupation was agriculture and raising livestock.
Going beyond the recent history archaeologists has uncovered the remains of major Bronze Age settlements in the area designated as HLO1. This includes a Bronze Age copper producing site, the first of such in the UAE that has been scientifically excavated and investigated. Studies have further revealed the availability of easily accessible copper ore in the surrounding mountains that explains what led to copper production in the area.
Wadi Al Helo is protected by surrounding mountains and watchtowers located at the entrance of the valley to further secure the valley from nomadic raiders. It is a great example for a valley inhibited by tribesman due to the availability of natural protection it provides and the water sources for agricultural activities within the mountains.
Although no running water is available anymore except during the rainy season, there are still plenty of underground water sources that provide fresh water. Even today there are families who continue to farm and raise animals although their lives have changed for the better with changing times.
Country : UAE
District : Emirate of Sharjah
Category : Historic Cities and Regions
Site History : Third Millennium BC
Oldest Culture : Bronze Age
Later Cultures : Mixed
Site Features : Bronze Age & Islamic Monuments
Coordinates : 24°56′33″N 56°12′20″E
Drive : Don’t need a 4×4, can travel by a Car with bit of ground clearance. You can park the car near the first watchtower located at the entrance of the wadi and take a brief hike to the other watchtower located in the adjacent hilltop. This has an amazing scenic view and worth the climb.
Visited : 20th January 2017
Pictures : Wadi Al Helo Album