The Natabean city of Hegra, in Mada’in Saleh.
Starting 2018, tourist visas will become a possibility, meaning many will be able to uncover the country which, until today has remained untouched by mass tourism. What awaits the visitor? Nabatean vestiges, Jeddah’s ancient architecture, or Riyadh, the futuristic Saudi capital.
Starting 2018, it will be possible to apply for tourist visas to visit Saudi Arabia. Here are the four unmissable destinations in the country.
1 Mada’in Saleh
The Nabatean city of Hegra (or Al-Hijr) dates back to the 1st century B.C.. Situated in northwestern Saudi Arabia it could be part of the same civilization which carved facades in stone at Petra in Jordan. The site is featured on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites
A fundamental step in the lifetime of each Muslim is performing Hajj, a pilgrimage made to Mecca. Located 60 kilometers from the Red Sea, the holy city of Mecca is accessible only to Muslims. In the center lies the Grand Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) where the Kaaba is visible, featuring the famous black stone offered by the archangel Gabriel to Abraham.
It is a cubic structure, covered by a black veil and decorated with ornate lettering with gold thread.
3 Riyadh: A future capital
The capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh, literally meaning “garden” in Arabic. The city is known by the Kingdom Center, a 302-meter building with a glass bridge hanging atop the structure.
On the eastern shore of the Red Sea, and since the 7th century A.D., Jeddah has been one of the most important ports on the Indian Ocean’s trade routes. A point of entry for pilgrims, this merchant town is made up of spectacular tower houses. It is decorated with large wooden roshans built in the late 19th century.