The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the still “young” tourist areas of the world, as it only opened shortly before the start of the new millennium to present this beautiful country to visitors. The great attraction of the kingdom is undoubtedly its cultural sights – but it is definitely recommended and interesting to encounter the landscape, which is primarily characterized by desert, and let it take effect. One opportunity for this is, for example, the excursion by jeep that takes you through the desert to Al Hiwayah Canyon. Also possible: excursions to Bedouins and scattered oases. However, the landscape of the Asir Mountains in the southwest is also worth a trip. Due to its location on the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia also has a coast on the Persian Gulf – which is, however, more marshy and with salt surfaces – and on the Red Sea, which offers divers fascinating areas with great diversity between coral reefs. Diversity on land, in the cultural region of Saudi Arabia, is an extraordinary mixture of tradition and modernity, ranging from traditional Bedouin villages to representative buildings in the ultra-modern capital Riyadh, which also highlights the exclusivity of this destination. In addition to the old town and the palaces and mosques of the Al-Saud family in Riyadh, the historic city of Doumat Al Jandal, Get a good picture of life in the kingdom in Al Ula with its mud buildings in a labyrinth of alleys and in the old town of Jeddah with Ottoman merchant houses and souqs… and of the open-minded population. Mecca and Medina are or would also be worth seeing – only these cities are “guardians of the holy place” and therefore not accessible to non-Muslims.
Old Djidda is a memorable historical place on the Red Sea, which has always been considered the gateway to Mecca and is also located in the province of Mecca. Millions of pilgrims pass through Old Jeddah each year, or today’s Jeddah, to visit the religious center of Islam, some 70 kilometers away.
Old Djidda was founded around 2,500 years ago by a Yemenite tribe. The location was particularly interesting for fishermen because of the nearby bay behind a coral reef. The location on the coast also ensured that Caliph Uthman ibn Affan chose Old Djidda as the port of Mecca in 647. In the 15th century, Old Djidda was given a city wall with three gates by Circassian Mamluks to protect itself against the attacking Portuguese.
Old Jeddah and Jeddah – from history to modernity
The city has not lost its importance as a port and gateway to Mecca, but it has also changed a lot at the same time. Today’s Jeddah is considered the most important port city of Saudi Arabia and has created another point of contact for pilgrims and other tourists with the imposing international King Abd al-Aziz Airport, which was built north of the city.
In contrast to Mecca, where only Muslims are allowed in, Jeddah welcomes every visitor, no matter what religion they belong to. City highlights show true greatness, or rather height. The highest television tower in Saudi Arabia welcomes you at 250 meters. The King Fahd’s Fountain even measures 312 meters as the highest fountain in the world and the Haj Terminal roof at the airport has the largest structure of a roof with over 40 hectares.
The old port city of Alt Djidda has developed into an ultra-modern travel destination that inspires all around. Prince al-Walid ibn Talal goes even further, so that the Kingdom Tower will soon be the tallest building on earth at over 1,000 meters.
Mada ‘in Salih
Due to its former seclusion, the impressive evidence of Saudi Arabia’s bygone cultures is little known. One of the most fascinating is Mada ‘in Salih, the rock tombs of the ancient city of Hebra.
Mada ‘in Salih, the city made of rocks
In the south-west of Saudi Arabia, about 400 kilometers from Medina, there is the Mada ´in Salih archaeological site. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008. 111 monumental tombs are distributed over the former trading center and the Nabataean capital Hebra. Reddish rock, embedded in a barren desert landscape, forms almost fairytale-like formations that are reminiscent of people or animals. In these gigantic sandstone cliffs, monumental tombs were carved by the inhabitants of Hebrew more than 2000 years ago. Its ornately decorated portals with lavish decorations testify to the extraordinary craftsmanship of that time. The inscriptions in Aramaic and Thamudic languages and the sculptures of animals and birds can still be seen today.
The approximately 1460 hectare large, extensive site of antiquity can be visited on a round trip of around ten kilometers. The sight of an old locomotive with its station building could be reminiscent of a mirage. This is by no means a mirage, but rather the remains of the historic Hejaz Railway, which was supposed to connect Damascus and Mecca at the beginning of the 20th century. The entire route, however, was never completed and its existing part was used for the last time in 1924.
The legend of the Prophet Salih
The name Mada ‘in Salih means translated, place of Salih, and is based on the legend of the Prophet Salih. He tried to convert the inhabitants of Hebrew, followers of Thamud, to Islam. Because they resisted, the people were destroyed by an earthquake.
Like many others, Mada ‘in Salih is one of those old cultural sites that make every tour or study trip through Saudi Arabia an excursion into new tourist territory.
The largest oasis in the world
Al-Ahsa is a historical region in Saudi Arabia and is located in an easterly direction, very close to the Bahrain Islands. Al-Ahsa is surrounded by Qatar in the south and Najd in the west. The historic metropolis of Hofuf forms the center of Al-Ahsa, which consists of a desert landscape and an agricultural region.
Picturesque oasis with a historical flair
Al-Ahsa offers all-round cultural moments. Culture lovers and those interested can experience fascinating, impressive and eventful moments on a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The oasis is also called Al-Hasa, from which one can already perceive the different dialects of the region. This impressive oasis of culture and nature is located on the Persian Gulf and in the east of the Arabian Peninsula.
Desert flair and agricultural use and design combine to create a very special atmosphere. Over 2.5 million palm trees have been planted here and everything is supplied by a complex irrigation system. These impressions of nature combined with the historical image of the buildings in Al-Ahsa bring travelers closer to the history of Saudi Arabia. A discovery tour leads the culture lovers through a historical journey through time. Surrounded by a breathtaking splendor of the landscape, make your stay a real pleasure for the senses.
Extensive landscapes and history
Those interested will encounter dreamlike cultural moments in Al-Ahsa, which resemble a special feature and make the entire stay in Al-Ahsa a wonderful experience. A dreamlike expanse surrounds Al Ahsa and allows for picturesque landscapes – a historical cultural enjoyment with an authentic atmosphere can be experienced in Al-Ahsa in an eventful variety.