The allure of Saudi Arabia makes its way to one of the top destinations for travelers. Undeniably, the golden land secures a unique place in the traveller’s bucket list for its timeless wonders. Saudi Arabia, the largest Gulf Country in the world, is also quoted as the “Land of Two Holy Mosques,” Mecca and Medina. From the ancient cities embedded with deep history to the busy streets and desert of Saudi Arabia, explorers are astonished, unlike any other.

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The kingdom of Saudi Arabia offers an array of beautiful landscapes to be explored. Some of which have earned their reputation in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here are the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, each holding a unique story that unfolds with the country’s culture and heritage.

Al-Ahsa Oasis

The Al-Ahsa Oasis is the largest oasis in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, which runs about 60-65 Km. The landscape is well-known for its date palms and palm trees; being the world’s largest oasis, it has 2.5 million palm trees. Located in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia or the Arabian Peninsula, it encompasses wells, canals, palm groves, springs, historical monuments and archaeological sites. Al-Ahsa Oasis is the standing treasury for ancient culture and old human settlements in the Gulf region, dating back a thousand years from the Neolithic period to the present time. The remains of the springs and wells from the archaeological site depict the traditional farming methods and techniques.

Al-Ahsa Oasis offers stunning scenery. The Jabal Al-Qarah, located in Al Hofuf City of Saudi Arabia, is a must-visit destination.

Al-Hijr Archaeological Site

The archaeological site of Al-Hijr or Hegra of Saudi Arabia is the first to be inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Located in the Al-‘Ula, Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, Al-Hijr is the home of the lost Nabataean civilization. The well-preserved water wells, 111 monument tombs and 50 inscriptions of the pre-Nabataean period date from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD. The site is stunning because of the tombs whose architecture is directly inscribed into the sandstone and facades bearing many decorative motifs. The majestic site is a living example of Nabataeans’ architectural values, carving skills and impressive stories of the lost civilization.

Around the vicinity, Qasr al-Farid (Lonely Castle) is the most remarkable tomb of Al-Hijr measuring about 72 feet tall making it evident across the site.

Al Turaif

Al Turaif district in Diriyah, the birthplace of the first Saudi state, is located in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula and is the first capital of the Saudi Dynasty. The property includes the remains of several places and an urban ensemble that stood the test of time. It is also specified as the popular religious and political hub of Saudi Arabia, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The buildings and castles of the land are a witness to the Najdi and Islamic architecture. The Al Turaif district entrance has a significant landmark, the Salwa Palace, which blends with history. Located on the northeastern side of the district, Salwa Palace was the headquarters of the government during the period of the Saudi First State.

The Diriyah Museum is worthy of note for it showcases the 18th century remains of Al Turaif. A walk into this historical museum provides capitative insight on the history and development of Saudi first state.

Ḥima Cultural Area

Hima Cultural Area is quoted as the world’s largest rock art complex. Located in the southwest region of Saudi Arabia, the Hima Cultural area includes about 34 archaeological sites and the latest property inscribed to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The inscriptions and petroglyphs portray lifestyles such as those of flora, fauna, hunting techniques, etc., from over 7000 years ago. The rock inscriptions are observed to be in different languages, such as Greek, Musnad, Thamudic, Arabic, Aramaic-Nabatean and South Arabian. The wells of Bir Hima, which date back over 3000 years, stand as a historical marvel because they still operate and produce fresh water.

The historical site, Hima Cultural Area, is a testimony to the ancient tradition and history of the lost civilization. The stone rocks are arguably from the Paleolithic age.

Historic Jeddah

Jeddah is the largest city in Hejaz and it is located along the Red Sea. It used to be the largest sea port on the Red Sea and Saudi Arabia, dating back to the 7th century AD. The trade routes were significant for transporting goods to Makkah and served as the gateway for pilgrims traveling to Mecca by sea. The vibrant city is the house of unique architectural traditions such as the tower house built in the 19th century, coral stone buildings, houses with large wooden Roshan, mosques, public squares, etc. Besides, the Al-Shafei mosque, built in 1250 AD, the Al Raham floating mosque, the Fakieh Aquarium, the Jeddah Lighthouse and the busy market are must-visit destinations in the city.

A seaside city built with rich history and heritage remained as one of the important and largest settlements from centuries to till date.

Rock Art in the Hail Region

Located in the desert region, the Rock Art in the Hail Region includes two properties, Jable Umm Sinman and the Jabal al-Major. The site is one of the largest collections of rock art displaying the past civilizations through engraving and ancient script. The rock inscriptions display human and animal figures, some of which date back 10,000 years. The beauty of the red sand makes the site more attractive. The pictures imprinted on the rock of the Hail Region provide a lasting history that helps to understand the human settlement, culture and lifestyle habits practiced and passed on to generations.

The Rock Art in the Hail Region stands as the best example of Neolithic art. Recognizing its rich history and outstanding rock art, the site was listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The country itself is blended with unceasing history and legacy of different civilizations spanning over centuries. Besides the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Saudi Arabia offers breathtaking landscapes, scuba diving, desert safari, camping and hiking in Saudi’s desert. The historical marvels and adventures of the land never failed to amuse the travelers.

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