The Madain Saleh is also called Al-Hijr or Hegra, it is a pre-Islamic archaeological site situated in Al-Ula sector of Saudi Arabia. The Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr is the first World’s Heritage property in Saudi Arabia. It is also largest conserved site of Petra in South, Jordan. The structure has monumental tombs with well decorated facades dating from long back 1st-century BC. On exploring the site, one will find 50-inscriptions. The inscriptions belong to pre-Nabataean period and some cave drawings. The site has 111-monuments tombs, of which 94 are decorated, and stands out as mesmerizing example of the Nabataeans architectural site.
About the Mada’in Saleh:
The site today has largest settlement after Petra, with traces of Roman and Lihyanite occupation before Nabatean rule. According to the text of Islam, the Thamudis who carved homes out of the mountain were the one who got punished by Allah. The people were punished by Allah for practising idol worship, and hence was struck by lightning blast and earthquake. The site had developed a reputation as a cursed place. But today, the government is trying to overcome such image and attempting to develop Mada’in Saleh as tourist potential.
It was in year 2008, the site was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also earned a name as being Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage Site. Some of the parts of the site are well-preserved, especially its 131 rock-cut monumental tombs with ornamented facades are a true architectural wonder of Nabatean Kingdom.
The site Madain Saleh is located 20-km to the north of Al-Ula town, 500-Km Southeast of Petra and 400-KM north-west of Medina. The site’s north-west and western portion contain water table, which can be reached till a depth of 20-meters.
How to Reach:
While visiting any tourist place, the first thing that comes to your mind is, best time to visit and how to visit? To visit this place, a permit is needed, while some tourists are allowed with a particular ID. Tour operators also arrange these tours, but visitors must apply a week in advance. An Individual can apply get the permit from the Saudi Commission of Tourism and Antiquities.
Weekly flights are there from AIUIa aiport, which are operated by Saudi Airlines. The Airport is around 15Km from AIUIa town. While Medina and Al Wajh are other airport which are 300km and 220m respectively.
One can also opt for car journey, considering convenience and luxury. Al-Ula is nearest town from Madain Saleh. There are also bus service around travelling between Riyadh and Jeddah.