Uqair is an ancient fort of Islamic origin, located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. It is alternatively spelled Al-'Uqair, Uqayr, and Ogair, all Latin transliterations of the same Arabic word. It has been linked by some to the ancient city of Gerrha mentioned in Greek and Roman sources. The site was also the location of the 1922 conference at which the Protocol of Uqair was issued, helping establish the borders of modern Saudi Arabia.
The fort sits about 50 miles northeast of the fertile oasis of Al-Hasa on the east coast of the Persian Gulf. At this ancient locale are the remains of a large fort that now marks the site of the same name. The current structure that exists is of unknown origin. It is not absolutely clear who built the fort that measures roughly 150 ft. (50 m.) on each side which consists of a stone rampart topped with mud brick. (The Persian Gulf in Antiquity, Vol. II, D.T. Potts, P. 56).
Modern Uqair is 55 miles due south of Dhahran, a Saudi Aramco compound. It lies about 50 miles northeast of the fertile oasis of Al-Ahsa and its main city Hofuf on the eastern shore of the Persian Gulf, on a straight line between the oasis and the island state of Bahrain.The new Uqair- Al-Hasa road (35 miles) which was constructed recently and passes by Al-Jishah town will support the economic development of Al-Hasa oasis. Modern maps place Uqair at the harbor and shallow lagoon the fort was built next to.
Other Important Surrounding Locations Of Antiquity :
The location of pre-Islamic Al-Hasa is of great importance and relevance to Uqair. Artesian wells once fed "a series of interconnected streams and lakes draining north eastward toward the Persian Gulf above Uqair. Reports of the existence of this active ravine system can be traced back to the time of Pliny." (Potts, p. 29). Evidence of this effluent has a great bearing on the exploration of the fort at Uqair and the ancient Arabian city of Gerrha. A large source of fresh water near the Persian Gulf is reason enough to create a trading port located at Uqair and to facilitate the civilization that flourished at Al-Hasa. It is well documented that the Al-Hasa region and most notably Uqair were once considered to be strong candidates for the possible lost city of Gerrha, an emporium of trade and mercantile activity dating to at least 225 BC.
Other ancient civilizations flourished in the surrounding area. Across the shallow Gulf strait sixty miles to the northeast are the ancient burial mounds of what is now known to be the lost ancient civilization of Dilmun. These burial mounds estimated at more than 100,000, rest on the island of Bahrain (Looking for Dilmun, Geoffrey Bibby, p. 7). On the Arabian Peninsula, the walled city of Thaj is 80 miles north of Uqair and just 20 miles inland from another ancient Arabian oasis, Qatif. Both of these sites have been dated to at least the Hellenistic period. The Saudi island of Tarut, another rich archeological area, lies 40 miles to the east of the old port and fishing village of Jubail, which once served Thaj and Qatif, and is located about 35 miles north of Uqair.