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Helen Betts | profile | all galleries >> Saudi Arabia: Life in the Desert >> UNESCO site Mada'in Saleh, Al-'Ula, Medina tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

UNESCO site Mada'in Saleh, Al-'Ula, Medina

This past Friday and Saturday we took a two-day tour to Mada’in Saleh (Al-Hijr), one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Saudi Arabia and described by Lonely Planet as the one must-see in the country. It was indeed fascinating and definitely worth a visit. Mada'in Saleh includes 131 stone-carved tombs of the Nabateans, the same people whose capital was the more famous Petra in Jordan. According to Lonely Planet, the tombs "combine elements of Greco-Roman architecture with Nabatean and Babylonian imagery," and "the setting of sweeping sand and remarkable rock formations is unique and unsurpassed."

“Mada'in Saleh, also called Al-Hijr or Hegra, is a pre-Islamic archaeological site located in the Al-Ula sector, within the Al Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia. A majority of the vestiges date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century CE). The site constitutes the kingdom's southernmost and largest settlement after Petra, its capital. Traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation before and after the Nabatean rule, respectively, can also be found.” (Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mada'in_Saleh

In addition to touring Mada’in Saleh, we also drove through Madinah (Medina), one of the two holiest cities in Islam, toured the old city of Al-'Ula, took a thrilling 4WD ride into the desert to see the sunrise and have breakfast, were driven up the highest peak in the area for a spectacular view, visited an ancient city to see its famous lion tombs, and had lunch at a date palm farm. All in all, it was worth foregoing sleep the night we left to catch a 5 a.m. flight to Madinah and getting up at 4: 30 a.m. the next day to go see the sunrise. A lot packed into two short days, but worth the effort to see this unique part of Saudi Arabia.
Mada'in Saleh, Qasr al-Farid tomb
Mada'in Saleh, Qasr al-Farid tomb
Medina, mosque (1)
Medina, mosque (1)
Medina, odd building (2)
Medina, odd building (2)
Medina view (3)
Medina view (3)
Medina, decorated hillside (4)
Medina, decorated hillside (4)
Medina, King Fahd's palace (5)
Medina, King Fahd's palace (5)
Medina, mosque (6)
Medina, mosque (6)
Medina, prohibited area (7)
Medina, prohibited area (7)
Sakharat al-Fil (Elephant Rock)
Sakharat al-Fil (Elephant Rock)
Painted rocks
Painted rocks
Mountain desert oasis
Mountain desert oasis
Oasis among the monuments
Oasis among the monuments
Mada'in Saleh, Qasr al-Bint tombs
Mada'in Saleh, Qasr al-Bint tombs
Al-Mahajar tombs
Al-Mahajar tombs
Al-Mahajar tombs
Al-Mahajar tombs
Nabataean well
Nabataean well
Water channel
Water channel
Double tombs
Double tombs
Tomb and graffiti
Tomb and graffiti
Natural art
Natural art
Rock tomb complex
Rock tomb complex
Rock tomb complex
Rock tomb complex
Artistry in rock
Artistry in rock
Rock hewn tomb
Rock hewn tomb
Rock hewn tomb, detail
Rock hewn tomb, detail
Qasr al-Bint tomb
Qasr al-Bint tomb
Qasr al-Bint tomb interior
Qasr al-Bint tomb interior
Qasr al-Bint tombs
Qasr al-Bint tombs
Qasr al-Bint, double tombs
Qasr al-Bint, double tombs
Qasr al-Bint tombs, burial tablet
Qasr al-Bint tombs, burial tablet
Unique decoration
Unique decoration
Qasr al-Bint tombs
Qasr al-Bint tombs
The diwan (meeting room)
The diwan (meeting room)
The diwan
The diwan
The Siq
The Siq
Natural amphitheater
Natural amphitheater
Tourist photo
Tourist photo
Hejaz Railway station
Hejaz Railway station
Qasr al-Farid tomb
Qasr al-Farid tomb
Qasr al-Farid tomb
Qasr al-Farid tomb
Rocky accommodation
Rocky accommodation
Al-'Ula, fortress
Al-'Ula, fortress
Al-'Ula, restored old town
Al-'Ula, restored old town
Al-'Ula, birthday dinner
Al-'Ula, birthday dinner
Al-'Ula, palm door
Al-'Ula, palm door
Al-'Ula, semi-traditional door
Al-'Ula, semi-traditional door
Desert caravan, preparing for sand
Desert caravan, preparing for sand
Lost in a sea of sand
Lost in a sea of sand
Admiring the view
Admiring the view
The Dancers
The Dancers
Desert flowers
Desert flowers
Desert resident
Desert resident
Hike in the canyon
Hike in the canyon
Canyon
Canyon
Desert wadi
Desert wadi
Artistry by Mother Nature
Artistry by Mother Nature
Desert butterfly
Desert butterfly
Desert color
Desert color
Breakfast serenade
Breakfast serenade
Lesson
Lesson
Having fun
Having fun
Rock satin
Rock satin
Rock formations
Rock formations
Camel rock carvings
Camel rock carvings
A few more rock formations
A few more rock formations
A last view...
A last view...
Date palm farm
Date palm farm
Different kind of landscape
Different kind of landscape
The peak
The peak
Camels at last
Camels at last
Wildlife
Wildlife
View of Al-'Ula
View of Al-'Ula
The view (1/6)
The view (1/6)
The view (2/6)
The view (2/6)
The view (3/6)
The view (3/6)
The view (4/6)
The view (4/6)
The view (5/6)
The view (5/6)
The view (6/6)
The view (6/6)
Al-Aswad 'lion tombs'
Al-Aswad 'lion tombs'
Al-Aswad 'lion tombs'
Al-Aswad 'lion tombs'
Al-Aswad 'lion tombs'
Al-Aswad 'lion tombs'
Luncheon companion
Luncheon companion
Al-'Ula oasis
Al-'Ula oasis
Al-'Ula oasis
Al-'Ula oasis
Sandstorm
Sandstorm
Goodbye from the group
Goodbye from the group