Al-Ula province is one of the most important sites for culture and heritage in Saudi Arabia, standing as a witness to generations of civilizations throughout history.
It contains great monuments, some of which are visible and some which are buried beneath the ground. It is a land that holds traces of Thamud, Madain Saleh and Al-Hajjar, acting as an integral tourist city, attracting more than 1 million tourists from within and outside the Kingdom
Madain Saleh is the first Saudi site to be taken under UNESCO’s wing in its World Heritage List. King Salman issued a royal decree to establish a Royal Commission in the province of Al-Ula to preserve it, confirming the importance of this historic area and to develop it to achieve the economic and cultural objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The area of Madain Saleh is about 14.6 square kilometers and has traces of human settlements from the Stone Age. With water, fertile soil and a strategic location on the roads leading to the great cultural centers in the old Near East, it has continued to attract settlements; archaeological treasures and ancient cities date back 4,000 years.
The city of Al-Ula is located between two large mountains and has fertile soil where palm trees, citrus and fruits are planted. Groundwater is available despite the great scarcity of rain.
On the mountain peaks on the outskirts of Madain Saleh, prehistoric artifacts were found that were mentioned in the Qur’an, confirming that Al-Hajjar was a busy and populated area inhabited by the Thamud.
A collection of Thamid, Lihyan, Southern Arab and Latin inscriptions attest to several settlements in the area, pertaining to the first millennium BC. More than 100 years ago, Frenchmen Antonin Jaussen and Raphael Savignac traveled to Al-Ula, undertaking the first serious archaeological research.
On Thursday, the Royal Commission for Al-Ula revealed a new competition called “Name a Rock” where people were given the chance to name rocks in the governorate to encourage people to explore the local rock formations.
Participants should take a photo of a rock formation in Al-Ula and suggest a name for it. In addition, they should provide the reason behind the naming and locate the rock on the map. Winners can receive prizes of up to SR100,000 (about $27,000).
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