What can you find in an oasis

Oases: Green islands in the desert

What is an oasis?

Basically, oases are nothing more than fertile places in a desert where crops can find enough water in the moist desert sand.
The term oasis comes from the "ancient egyptians" and means nothing else than

"Green Islands in the Sand Sea".

Life in a desert is not possible without water. In addition to the water, people in the desert have two other important requirements that are necessary for permanent living, working and living: Date palm and camel.
In addition to the fruit, the date palm provides a variety of other substances and camels can be used to travel from place to place through the desert.

That is why an old legend in the Orient tells: "When Allah created man, he was left with two lumps of clay. From these he made the date palm and the camel."

Water for life

Depending on how the water occurs in an oasis, there are three types of oasis:
• River oases can be found on the banks of rivers that cross a desert on their way to the sea.
• Source oases are created where the water comes directly to the surface as a source. Such oases usually arise on the edge of rocky mountains, which are mainly found in the Sahara desert.
• Well oases are created at the places where a water-bearing layer is found in the subsoil due to the deep excavation of a well.
The water is directed or stopped via a well-planned canal system to the various planted fields.

In the past, women carried the water, which was drawn up over a draw well, in clay vessels to the mud houses.
Today, many oases also have water pumps and a water supply system to the various places where the water is needed.


Agriculture in an oasis

The desert soil is very fertile in many places. When it is watered, various plants do well.
There is enough light and warmth for growth in the desert.
If the soil is now regularly and sufficiently irrigated via a canal system, ideal conditions are created for the cultivation of various useful plants. This happens over three floors:

• On floor 1, very close to the ground, vegetables and grains of all kinds can be grown.
• On the second floor, a few meters above the ground, almost everything grows:
Bananas, grapes, apples, oranges, pears, lemons, peaches, almonds, etc.
• The third floor is made up of the date palms with their valuable fruits. They are the roof of the oasis and protect plants and people from direct sunlight.
Without the shade that the date palms provide for the plants below, these would not be able to thrive on floors one and two.
The fruits are transported away by cart and donkey. This beast of burden can be found in every oasis everywhere. Camels finally transport the products through the desert to the port cities, where they are then loaded onto ships and, for example, transported to Europe. A camel caravan is often on the move for many days and that is only possible because the camels can get along without food and drink for a long time.

The date palm

The date palm is one of the oldest cultivated plants on earth. It's hard to imagine, but the hotter the sun burns, the drier the temperatures, the taller the stems will be and the tastier the fruits will be.

The roots of the palm can penetrate up to 30 meters into the depth. This range is usually sufficient to get to the layers carrying the groundwater. In such cases, date palms do not need to be watered at all. Not only the fruits, but also all other parts of the palm are used by humans:

• Palm fronds
Fences, mats, baskets, brooms

• Dates
Food, export

• Date kernel
crushed as fodder

• tribe
Lumber, firewood

• Fibers
Sacks and ropes

• young palm leaves
can be eaten as a salad

• Juice from the trunk of old trees
Palm wine


Source: Photos by Georg Glas and Thomas Mayr, (www.wuestenfahrer.de)