For your next weekend destination, don’t you wish to do something different? How about taking a trip back to the pre-historic times? Head to Mada’in Saleh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia; a short drive away from Medina. This incredibly historic archaeological site, also called Al-Hijr, has origins that can be traced back to the 1st century AD, and was part of the Nabateans kingdom, which gave the world the extra-ordinary city of Petra.
Recommended: Taking an experienced guide along
The people behind these ancient sites, the Nabataeans, have a very interesting story. Nelson Glueck, a famous archaeologist, called them ‘one of the most gifted people of history’ and rightfully so. Through their skills and ingenuity, they were not only able to sustain in an area engulfed in an arid desert, but thrive for over one thousand years. They made Mada’in Saleh a thriving hub of commerce and culture, which has left an indelible mark even on the modern-day culture.
Just like in Petra, the site mostly has structures for funerary purpose, which amounts to a total of 131 tombs cut into boulders, rising sharply from the desert surface. Apart from the tombs, you can also the see the Diwan and the Siq – a narrow passageway between two boulders that has a few small altars.