Historical Information of Madaen Saleh
Madaen Saleh is one of the most important historical sites in the Kingdom.
It's located in El Ola area in El Medina. It occupies a strategic position on the road linking the south of the peninsula with Iraq, the Levant, and Egypt. One of its tribes is Thamood mentioned in Quran who refused Prophet Saleh invitation to believe in God.
What is Madaen Saleh?
They are tombs carved in rocks representing Thamoodi culture, the tribe of Prophet Saleh.
The Story of Prophet Saleh from Thamood:
The story of Prophet Saleh was mentioned in Quran; Thamood was a rich tribe who paved the rocks in the valley and built their castles there and made houses in the mountain, but they disbelieved the grace of God and worshiped idols instead of God, so God sent for them Prophet Saleh to put them on the right way; some believed but the majority didn't, and thus were deemed to suffering.
Hajar is a name for Madaen Saleh.
Cultures in Al Hajar:
Al Hajar was the home of Thamood people and after them the Lihyaneyoun, then Nabateans.
Where is Hajar located?
Al Hajar is located 22 km east to Al Ola.
Madaen Saleh or Al Hajar is one of the archeological sites that could be called the open museum and contains Thamoodi, Lihyani, and Nabateans archeology.
It has an area of 13.39 km.
It contains 131 tombs and dates back to the period from the first year BC till year 75 AD.
Each tomb is for its owner and his family generation after another, and a stone is carved above it stating the will of this tomb's owner.
These tombs are called castles for its beauty, and here are some of their names:
Al Fareed Castle: Is the local name among the area's people, and was called so for its separate unique huge rock and its distinct big front.
The Girl's Castle: Is the local name and includes in addition to the Girl's Castle a big group of tombs.
The Old Woman's Caslte: Al Diwan, is a rectangular Nabatean temple of irregular shape carved inside a rock, and was used for rituals.
Mahlab Al Naqa: is a big stone basin known as Mahlab Al Naqa - meaning Prophet Saleh's camel - and is in fact remains of a Nabatean temple as some archeologists mention.
The Lions Tombs: Was so called in relevance to the creatures carved on top of some of these tombs and which resembles lions; they are 21 tombs.
In year 2008, the Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization of the United Nations declared Madaen Saleh an international heritage, and thus becomes the first site in Saudi Arabia to join the list of the World Heritage Sites.