Mada’in Saleh – Saudi Arabia’s First World Heritage

Mada’in Saleh is the First World Heritage of Saudi Arabia  as proclaimed by UNESCO in 2008.It is also called “Al-Hijr” or “Hegra”.

This is an archaeological site within the the sector of Al-“Ula and province of Al-Madinah ,Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


The majority of the remains that can be seen today can be dated back from the Nabatean Kingdom (1st century AD).Traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation can also be found before and after the Nabatean Rule.

Most of the site constitutes the southernmost part of the kingdom and the largest settlement after Petra,its capital during that time.

The Story

The story as told by the locals and according to the Islamic tradition was about Prophet Saleh  whom Allah had sent to preach to the people of Thamud.The place of Al-Hijr or Hegra had already been settled by the tribe of Thamud by the 3rd Millenium BC.The tribe of Thamud with their great skills was believed to have carved this structures of Rocks as mentioned in their Holy Quran.

Hearing the Story from a local resident

Most of the Tribe of Thamud however are unbelievers of  Allah and have fallen to idol worship and violence . Oppression is also prevalent during that time.They don’t believe in the preaching of Prophet Saleh and even Challenged Him to provide  a miracle and  they would only believe if a Female pregnant  camel would appear from the back of  the mountains and come to them.And so the Pregnant “she-camel “was sent by Allah to the people of Thamud coming from the back of the mountain as proof of Prophet Saleh’s Divine Mission.

Our Local resident modern day storyteller

However, only a minority heeded his words. The non-believers killed the sacred camel instead of caring for it as they were told, and its calf ran back to the mountain where it had come from, screaming. The Thamudis were given three days before their punishment was to take place, since they disbelieved and did not heed the warning. Saleh and his Monotheistic followers left the city, but the others were punished by Allah —their souls leaving their lifeless bodies in the midst of an earthquake and lightning blasts.

My First Camel Ride

Location – Getting there

Mada’in Saleh archaelogical site  is 396 km from Yanbu (Al-Madinah province)and about 4-5 hours land  trip.If You are coming from Jeddah this would take 8-9 hours normal land trip.If You are out of Kingdom and  want a Faster route ,you can have always the optiion of taking Flights and arrive at Yanbu airport (KIng Abdulazis airport).The airport’s full name is Prince Abdul Mohsin bin Abdulaziz Airport.This is the nearest route to Mada’in Saleh if you are coming from the east or southern part of the Kingdom.

Enjoying The Land Travel

The land trip travel is not that boring because you will be fascinated with the nice view of sight along the road and a driver well be  stay alert with lot of curved roads and intersections along the Al- ula section of the province .Uncommon greenery sights and small farms can be also viewed as you pass thru some small towns along the way.

It’s Importance

Al-Hijr Archaeological Site lies in an arid environment. The dry climate, the lack of resettlement after the site was abandoned, and the prevailing local beliefs about the locality have all led to the extraordinary state of preservation of Al-Hijr,providing an extensive picture of the Nabatean lifestyle. Thought to mark the southern extent of the Nabatean kingdom, Al-Hijr’s oasis agriculture and extant wells exhibit the necessary adaptations made by the Nabateans in the given environment—its markedly distinct settlement is the second largest among the Nabatean kingdom, complementing that of the more famous Petra archaeological site in Jordan.The location of the site at the crossroads of trade, as well as the various languages, scripts and artistic styles reflected in the façades of its monumental tombs further set it apart from other archaeological sites. It has duly earned the nickname “The Capital of Monuments” among Saudi Arabia’s 4,000 archaeological sites….Source : Wikipedia

Like and comment below if you love this post.

(note : if you want some pictures and curious what is inside and what does it look like inside the tomb,comment below and I will make a separate blog about this..Thanks)

2 thoughts on “Mada’in Saleh – Saudi Arabia’s First World Heritage

    • Hi Michael,
      Thanks for taking time to read my post.
      Regarding your inquiry ,All visitors, including pilgrims(muslims), need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia.
      You should apply for a visa through visa agencies accredited to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in your country of origin.
      Although Mostly expats who are here are commonly have their working visa as provided by the company which they have applied in is the normal entry in getting here in the Kingdom.
      Saudi Arabia has not been so open regarding their country for tourism but with the new King and the changing government policies.Saudi Arabia is now starting to boost their economy through other campaigns like tourism and not only to rely on its major source of income which is producing oil .

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