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Buried for centuries, a church and monastery discovered in the early 1990s on Sir Bani Yas Island illuminate the evidence of early Christianity in the region. Open to the public, this is the UAE's only known ancient Christian site.

A church, a monastery and a series of courtyard houses, dating to the 7th and 8th centuries CE, were discovered at the site. The church was identified by the presence of plaster crosses and its plan, which resembles ancient churches known from elsewhere in the Arabian Gulf.

Hundreds of artefacts found at the site reveal that the people there used the sea for food and also kept cattle, sheep and goats. Glass and ceramic objects indicate that the inhabitants of the settlement traded widely across the Arabian Gulf and into the Indian Ocean.

Now, almost two decades since its discovery, and more than a thousand years since it was built, the public can visit the site and experience another piece of the rich tapestry that makes up the UAE's fascinating history.

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