A few kilo­me­ters south­west of the small town of Al Madam, along the old road from Dubai to Hat­tu, is an aban­doned set­tle­ment. This place was once home to the peo­ple of the Al Kut­bi tribe, one of the indige­nous peo­ples in the vicin­i­ty of Al Madam. For an unspec­i­fied rea­son, the res­i­dents left their homes about ten years ago. Accord­ing to the leg­ends, the evil spir­its of the genies forced the peo­ple to leave.

abandoned village of Al Madam

The entry is relat­ed to the place: Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates

In Ara­bic and Mus­lim cul­ture, the Jinn is a super­nat­ur­al crea­ture from the under­world. How­ev­er, genies are not always evil. Every­one knows that it was the genie who helped the poor tai­lor’s son Aladdin defeat the evil sor­cer­er, gain wealth and become a prince in one of the most pop­u­lar Ara­bic fairy tales about the Mag­ic Lamp. Many peo­ple con­tin­ue to believe that some­thing oth­er­world­ly hap­pened in Al Madam. But in fact, the rea­son for every­thing is the life­less sands of the desert, life on which is extreme­ly dif­fi­cult.

The vil­lage con­sist­ed of two near­by hous­es of the same type and a mosque on the out­skirts. Accord­ing to his­to­ri­ans, the dwellings were built in the late 1970s and 1980s as part of a project to pro­vide hous­ing for the indige­nous pop­u­la­tion. The qual­i­ty of con­struc­tion was extreme­ly high, because the hous­es have been pre­served in excel­lent con­di­tion to this day. But they failed to cope with the onslaught of the desert sands. Room by room, house by house, the sands filled the hous­es from floor to ceil­ing. It was the sand, not the evil spir­its, that forced the res­i­dents to leave, turn­ing Al Madam into a ghost town.

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The sand in these places is extreme­ly inhos­pitable. It eas­i­ly invades hous­es through the small­est cracks and fills every­thing around. The ghost town of Al Madam is locat­ed about 60 km from the city of Dubai and 50 km from Shar­jah. This aban­doned vil­lage is known as the “old city” of Al Madam. Today it is a pop­u­lar attrac­tion in Dubai for tourists and Insta­gram­mers.