Madain Saleh, the archaeological site with the Nabatean tomb of the 1st century
Historically closed to tourism, Saudi Arabia began relaxing its entry requirements in 2019. Today, the kingdom wants to continue its momentum and develop the number of visitors. This may be the opportunity to discover the rich and flourishing heritage of this influential Middle Eastern state. Here are 5 must-see sites to visit in Saudi Arabia.
1 – The archaeological site of Madain Saleh
Madain Saleh is the first site in Saudi Arabia to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And for good reason, it holds vestiges belonging to the Nabatean city of al-Hijr. The most impressive? The monumental tombs, whose elaborately decorated facades date back to the 1st century BC. Well preserved, the site also abounds in monuments carved in the rock and wells. The latter testify to the great hydraulic mastery of the Nabataeans. Fascinating!
2 – Tuwaiq Palace
Built in 1985, the Tuwaiq Palace is the result of a collaboration between Saudi, British and German designers. It is located in the diplomatic district of Riyadh and covers an area of 24,000 m². It is used for conferences, banquets, large social events, and wedding receptions. From an aesthetic point of view, Tuwaiq Palace combines several elements of the local landscape: tents, fortresses, palm trees and water features. Everything to believe in the middle of an oasis!
3 – The ancient city of Dariya
Among the must-see sites to visit in Saudi Arabia is the historic city of Dariya. Founded in the 15th century, it is the birthplace of the first Saudi state. It is also known that this city was once a dynamic, commercial and cultural city. While in Dariya, take a stroll through the al-Bujairy neighborhood, while admiring the clay huts, the Dariya Museum (a restored former palace), and the al-Zawihra Mosque. Another place not to be missed is the citadel of al-Turaif. A vast cultural center, including luxury hotels and shopping malls.
4 – The picturesque city of Najran
In the south of Saudi Arabia, a few kilometers from the Yemeni border, lies the ancient city of Najran. An area famous for its two archaeological sites: Al Ukhdood and Hima Wells. Both of them feature sculptures, rock drawings, wells and many other archaeological treasures. Other popular attractions in Najran are the Emarah Palace, Ra’um Castle and As-Safa Park. A sublime journey back in time!
5 – The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina
Second holy city of Islam, Medina hosts the Mosque of the Prophet, where the tomb of Muhammad is located. For this reason, the site is a major pilgrimage site, attracting hundreds of thousands of Muslims every year. In addition to its symbolic side, this place of worship is also famous for its architecture: a breathtaking emerald-colored dome, more than 41 doors and numerous white marble minarets. The only problem is that access to the city of Medina is unfortunately forbidden to non-Muslims.