Al-Ula opened its doors to the public this winter, after months of waiting from the public, but it’s well worth it.
Many Hollywood celebrities, internationally-acclaimed performers and travellers travelled far and wide to experience the exquisite landscape of the area, as well as the Mada’in Saleh’s rich history.
Honestly, though, it’s about time Saudi’s hidden gems receive the accolade it deserves.
But what do we know about its history?
Keep on reading to discover…
(Image Credits: Instagram @alulatourism)
Al-Ula was historically located on the ‘Incense Road’
The ‘Incense trade route’ was an extended leg of ancient lands and sea routes that allowed the Mediterranean region to import incense, spiced and other goods from the East and the South.
The land trade from the Southern part of Saudi to the Mediterranean was highly successful between 5th to 2nd century BC.
Goods exchanged were done in Egypt, India and ancient Saudi Arabia.
The “walled city” was an oasis in the desert valley
The ancient city of Al-Ula was once an oasis in the desert valley, according to Atlas Obscura. It had plenty of fertile soil and water too.
Most of the original houses in the ancient towns were rebuilt over time
However, we’ve still got a few gems left that has helped us decipher how they used to live- pure traditional Arab elements that still remained.
Like the stones with carvings or the architecture of ancient brick homes, recollecting treasures left from the Kingdom of Lihyan that ruled the city of Dedan between 5th to 2nd century BC.
The ancient city of Dedan was located in proximity to where Al-Ula is now.
The site where Mada’in Saleh is was once also home to Nabateans
The Nabateans were Arabs known for being skilled traders where they often dealt with goods such as: spices, incense, gold, medicines, perfumes and fabrics. You can just imagine all the cool items the Ancient civilisation traded and how they used these things.
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was said to have spent three days in Al-Ula
According to Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari’s account in his book “The Last Years of the Prophet”, mentioned Wadi Al-Qura, in Al-Ula and says Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was there for three days to help restore the commercial role of the area.