Saudi Arabia: It’s Time to Visit Mada’in Saleh

According to the Visitors’ Guide to Mada’in Saleh published by Saudi photographer, Mohammed Babelli, Mada’in Saleh is one of the most unique places in the Kingdom to visit.  This extraordinary city, carved from desert stone and located just 320 kilometers from present-day Madinah, was the stronghold of the Nabataean Empire in Northern Arabia.  Designated by UNESCO as the first World Heritage site in Saudi Arabia in 2008, Mada’in Saleh, a well-known center of commerce for two centuries, welcomed the camel caravans crossing the desert.

The area provided housing for its residents, a cemetery hewn from the rocks, and an area for religious worship.  Now a center of archeological artifacts and tourism rather than trade, Mada’in Saleh fascinates researchers and visitors with a glimpse of the Kingdom’s pre-Islamic history.

The well-preserved tomb sites set in magnificent windswept desert terrain and surrounded by scenic vistas invite tourists to explore the intriguing history, culture and customs of the Nabataean people as wedll as the desert landscape.

Visitors ton Mada’in Saleh will appreciate acquiring a copy of Desert Publisher ‘Guide to Mada’in Saleh’ prior to a trip.  The guide is comprehensive and informative to ensure that a visitor will get the most out of their visit and not miss anything!  After the magnificent trip Desert Publisher tabletop book of photographs of Mada’in Saleh completes the visit allowing one to reminisce while looking through the amazing photographs.

If you click on this link it will take you to my own photos of Mada’in Saleh.  It was a trip I will never forget.


8 Responses

  1. Very beautiful, Carol. In some ways it reminds me a little of Taos, NM. Is it deserted now? It looked that way.

  2. I agree it is worth a visit. Such a beautiful place.

  3. It’s pretty deserted. Even when going in a group you still feel like your tour and your time is very private. It is so magnificent seeing the tombs and seeing the way of life of the Nabatenean. Mada’in Saleh is a must see.

  4. It is a great shame that the Saudi Wahabi government failed to preserve the Islamic heritage sites in Makkah and Madinah especially the sites relating to the Prophet Muhammads time but can declare Madain saleh a heritage site!!

  5. I have had the opportunity to visit Mada’in saleh. It is beuatiful. We had to go as a group and with a guide as that was the only way to get permission to vist. Our group needed a letter of permission from the Ministry Tourism as our group was non-Muslim/Non-Saudi. It was enjoyable. Our guide was very knowledgable.

  6. ‘It is so magnificent seeing the tombs and seeing the way of life of the Nabatenean.’

    Do you find much difference between them and the Bedouin?

  7. yes, I felt like there was a big difference between the Nabateans and the Beduion based on their way of life. There was an organized settlement of houses in Al Ula. Granted, they were mud houses but the way they were made and constructed was amazing. Some even had stairs indicating more than one level.

    The tombs and area where they worshiped or made sacrifices (they were not Muslims and did worship idols) were in a separate area.

    Whereas the Beduions of the old day were more transient and would live in tent structures.

  8. Thanks for this informative post. Yeah, I am very late to arrive here because, only recently, I have started searching resources on Mada’in Saleh. It was a treat to view your trip-pics on Flickr.
    It is widely known that Petra and Mada’in Saleh are sister sites (both Nabatean). If you have visited Petra, can you draw a comparison between the two, for the benefit of your readers? I mean, it would be great to know their similarities and differences from your perspective.

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