Al Ula is located in the north-western part of Saudi Arabia between Medina and Tabuk, and is 380 km away from Medina, located on latitude 26-37 to the north, and longitude 37-52 to the east. It is one of the largest and most important ancient civilization region located on the main route of spices and incense trade between the civilizations of the ancient world, the Arabian Peninsula, the Levant, Egypt, and Iraq.
The Most Important Tourist Sites:
Madaen Saleh or old name The Stone City- It is an archaeological site in Saudi Arabia located in the province of Al Ula which is a subordinate of the Medina region. It occupies a strategic position on the road linking the south of the Arabian Peninsula with Iraq, the Levant, and Egypt.
Al Hajar is the name of Thamood home in the Kora Valley between Medina and Tabuk, and it is said that it was known by Madaen Saleh or Saleh Villages in relation to Saleh of Bani Al Abbas Bin Abed Al Modtalleb and not to the Prophet Saleh as some think.
Al Hajar is located 22 kilometers northeast of the city of Ula on latitude 26-47 to the north and longitude 37-53 to the east. It is called Hajar since ancient times and it derives its historical fame from its location on the old trade route linking the South of the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant. Of its famous people Thamood Tribe, who were mentioned in Koran that they answered the call of God's Prophet Saleh, then renounced their religion and wounded the camel that God sent for them.
As to archeology, it is said that Al Hajar was inhabited by Al Maeeneyeen Al Thamood in the third millennium BC, after which it was inhabited by Allihyaneyoun in the ninth century BC and then by the Nabataeans in the second century BC who forfeited Bani Lihyan state and used the houses of Al Hajar as temples and tombs, and attributed the building of Al Hajar city to themselves in the inscriptions discovered later. The City contains an enormous amount of Al Maeeniya and Allihyaneya carvings which need to be studied and decoded.
In 2008, the Organization of the United Nations for Education, Sciences and Culture declared Madaen Saleh a world heritage site, and thus become the first site in Saudi Arabia to join the list of World Heritage sites.
The city of Petra, the capital of the Arab Nabataeans, the greatest and most famous historic sites in Jordan, is situated at a distance of 262 kilometers to the south of Amman. The English poet Bergen described it as the amazing eastern city, the unmatched rosy city.
This city is distinguished for its magnificent structural style and the creativity in its basins, dams, and channels. This heritage dates back to the Arab Nabataeans who settled in southern Jordan more than two thousand years ago, and took control of the hidden caravan station on the trade routes in the ancient Arab countries, and imposed tolls and harbored convoys carrying Arab goods of incense and spices, Indian silk, ivory, and skins of African animals.
When the Nabataeans Kingdom was at the top of its power, it spread to Damascus and included parts of the Sinai in Egypt and the Bekaa in Lebanon and Al Nakeb in Palestine and the north-west of the Arabian Peninsula; was thus actually controlled the major part of the Arab countries.
The Lost City (Petra in the Sixteenth Century):
Petra was completely lost for the West; the world did know nothing about it during the Crusades, till the English - Swiss traveler "Johan Bork'hart" revealed it in the course of his travels around the East Arab countries, and was at that time on his trip from Cairo to Damascus after he renounced Christianity and joined Islam and studied religious sciences, in addition to his discovery and travel activities.
In the year 1812, "Johan Bork'hart" convinced his Bedouin guide to take him to the site of the city that was said was lost. And he wrote in his notes and drawings that he used to jot down secretly... "It seems very probable that the ruins found in Musa Valley are the remains of old Petra." Despite the discovery of Petra by Bork'hart, the first excavations were not performed till 1924, under the supervision of the Archaeology British School in Jerusalem. And since then, the modern archaeological excavations performed by Jordanian and foreign teams explored different areas of the city from under the ground, revealing to us to a large extent the life of its ancient inhabitants.
There are hundreds of engraved sites, of lofty temples and royal shrines, like the safe room and a large stadium with the capacity of four-thousand spectators, in addition to large rocky houses, corridors, festival halls, water channels, tanks, bathes, rows of decorated stairs, markets, and arched gates.
One of the most prominent historical shrines is Al Jarra Shrine, which is higher than the other remains with a yard and columns in front of it carved in the rocks, and its front has squared columns. Whereas the second shrine resembles a safe in its Al Korenthi tomb style but the weather factors destroyed its front, and to the north there is the tomb of the palace.
There is also the monastery which is one of the largest archaeological sites in the city, with a width of 50 meters and height of 45 meters, and an 8-meter high door. At the top of the monastery, one can stretch his sight to far away where he can see the Palestinian land and the entire Sinai...