Experience a land where the past comes to life. From the labyrinthine streets of ancient cities to the intricate rock carvings of early civilizations, the kingdom’s rich history is written large across the landscape. When you explore the ancient ruins and rock-carven tombs of Nabatean Hegra or walk the narrow winding streets of Al-Turaif, surrounded by beautiful Najd architecture, you are opening a doorway into Saudi’s rich and fascinating history. Since the days of antiquity, Saudi has occupied a pivotal position at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Today, there are more than 11,000 archaeological sites throughout the Kingdom, telling the story of the civilizations that lived over the years. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is proud to have five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
• Al Ahsa Oasis
A desert oasis of shady palm groves and crystal-clear springs, Al Ahsa Oasis stands as a dazzling haven against the untamed plains of the Rub›Al Khali (Empty Quarter). For millennia, this region’s fertile land made it a hub for traders and caravans crossing the region’s ancient trade routes, forging links across the Arabian Peninsula and beyond, and providing a stopping place for early pilgrims en route to Makkah.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a nod to the city’s many archaeological landmarks, which show traces of human settlement all the way back to the Neolithic period – Al Ahsa Oasis is rapidly gaining appeal as one of Saudi Arabia’smost captivating tourist destinations.
• Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Hegra)
The wind-swept expanses of AlUla are a true living museum spanning hundreds of years of
Arabian history. Visit the rock tombs of Hegra, the ancient capital of Dadan and its Lion Tombs, the “open library” of inscriptions in the rocks at Jabal Ikmah, the labyrinth of mudbrick houses in the 12th-century AlUla Old Town, the 18thcentury Fort of Hegra, the Hijaz Railway Station.
• Al-Turaif District in Diriyah
Within Diriyah lies the UNESCO World Heritage Site Al-Turaif. The city of Al-Turaif, built-in 1744and recognized as one of the world’s largest mud-brick cities, has been carefully restored to offer visitors a chance to walk in the footsteps of kings and heroes and explore Saudi history and culture in an authentic environment.
• Historic Jeddah
Jeddah’s UNESCO-listed old town is one of the Kingdom’s most evocative quarters, within arrow alleyways between ancient merchant’s houses leading to spice-scented souqs and glowing traditional bakeries. Many buildings shave been restored in recent years, including the grand Nasseef House where Abdulaziz IbnSaud stayed in 1925, before becoming king of a unified Saudi Arabia. Empty spaces have become quirky cafes or art galleries, as a district built in the seventh century looks to the future.
• Rock Art in the Hail region
Sitting on the edge of Al Nafud Desert, no trip to Hail would be complete without a visit to
these majestic red sands. The Hail region is home to rock art now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover traces of what life was like more than 10,000 years ago through the inscriptions and petroglyphs just outside of Hail in Jubbah at Jabal Umm Sinman andShuwaymis at JabalAlManjor.