Time: 19 August 2021
Tabuk has witnessed a dramatic increase in domestic tourism over the past few years. (SPA)
The archeological village of Disa, home to Nabataean tombs carved into rock formations, is thought to date back to the end of the 2nd millennium B.C.
It is also believed to be the ancient city of Madyan, mentioned in the Qu’ran as the place where the Prophet Moses fled to after leaving Egypt
JEDDAH: Rich with antiquities and archeological sites, Tabuk is one of Saudi Arabia’s undiscovered gems. The area is home to valleys, oases, streams, picturesque sandstone columns, and tall palm trees.
It is also the site of the archeological village of Disa, where one can find Nabataean tombs, the facades of which are carved into the rock formations.
These tombs can also be found at the oasis of Mugha’ir Shu’ayb, also known as Al-Bada’. This site is thought to date back to the end of the second millennium B.C. and many believe it to be the ancient city of Madyan, mentioned in the Qu’ran and held to be the place where the Prophet Moses fled to after leaving Egypt.
Houses and temples are also carved into the mountains here, often with intricate design work around their entrances. The area has become very popular with photography enthusiasts.
These are the rare historical landmarks of Tabuk, a tourist destination popular because of its historical significance, but also because of its diverse nature and its mild climate, which makes it an excellent option for a summer getaway.
Indeed, Tabuk has witnessed a dramatic increase in domestic tourism over the past few years. Speaking to Arab News, brothers Khaled and Ahmed, who operate private tours to several areas of Saudi Arabia, said that Tabuk is still a mystery to many.
“It’s a calm place and is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the cities,” said Khaled. “From exploring the nooks and corners of the valleys to barbecues and star gazing at night, the place is wonderful. And, just think, (ancient) civilizations passed through here.”
Time: 14 August 2021
Photo/Saudi Press Agency
The palace consists of two floors, a huge hall and an entrance decorated with beautiful ornamentations, with a fountain in the middle of its courtyard
Taif is rich in historical and heritage landmarks that highlight the status of the governorate as one of the oldest cities in the Kingdom and the region as a whole.
Jabra Palace, in the northeast of the governorate, is considered one of the oldest landmarks in the Arabian Peninsula as its construction dates back more than 1,300 years. The palace stands on top of a hill overlooking many lush farms and orchards on the slopes of Wadi Jabra, which is full of streaming torrents during rainfall and receives water from distant locations.
The palace retains the beauty of its Islamic inscriptions and rich architectural heritage. It was named after Jabra of the Makhzoum tribe, the wife of Prince Mohammed bin Hisham, one of the princes during the Umayyad era and governor of Makkah at the time.
The palace consists of two floors, a huge hall and an entrance decorated with beautiful ornamentations, with a fountain in the middle of its courtyard.
Despite its age, the palace still retains its shape and construction style, in addition to many inscriptions on its walls and ceilings, and embodies a distinguished style of architecture that combines Islamic, Roman and traditional Hijaz construction. This architecture includes stones, stucco and bricks of various shapes and sizes, while the palace lobbies tell the story of a rich history extending over many centuries.
Jabra Palace has attracted the attention of poets and writers throughout the ages due to the beauty of its construction and inscriptions and its distinguished location, and is mentioned in many old Arab poems.
Time: 14 August 2021
The warm climate in Saudi Arabia makes for beautiful diving and swimming weather year-round along the coast, tempting many across the Kingdom to visit. (SPA)
“Saudis and foreigners alike come to my family’s quaint restaurant off the road in Thuwal and become frequent visitors”
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast has emerged as a top destination for vacationers. It has marine life-filled waters, fantastic vistas, swimming and diving sites — making it an ideal summer destination.
There are several excellent diving and swimming sites along the coastline, with the northern areas offering shipwrecks. The southern regions are home to islands filled with flora and fauna, offering dramatic encounters with manta rays, sharks and other species that live off the mangroves and shallow coral reefs.
The warm climate in Saudi Arabia makes for beautiful diving and swimming weather year-round along the coast, tempting many across the Kingdom to visit.
Farzanul Haque, an Indian expat living in Jeddah who has toured different cities and towns along the Red Sea coast, told Arab News: “The reason why I enjoy swimming in the waters here is due to the amazing colors of the corals, the marine life, and the water temperatures are warm all year round,” he said.
“Since my family arrived in 2017, I started visiting seaside cities such as Umluj, Yanbu and Thuwal while spending some quality time with them; we’re used to going to the Corniche most of the time, especially on the weekend and to other coastal cities during a vacation to enjoy swimming.”
For scuba divers, the Red Sea offers an adventure in discovering rich marine environments, as well as the experience of exploring historic shipwrecks such as the more than 100-year-old Sunken British ship Iona, as well as a Greek ship and a Chinese boat wholly covered with coral and seaweed.
The Seven Sisters is a series of red sea coral reefs known for their formations and bright colors. Some adventurers are keen to take photographs, with sophisticated cameras provided by diving centers.
Not only do these destinations have great swimming and diving opportunities, local seafood restaurants offer an assortment of dishes featuring the freshest catch of the day.
“You won’t find fish like the Red Sea’s fish anywhere else but here,” said Khalid Garout, a private sector worker and fishermen who helps provide his family business with fresh fish over the weekends.
“Saudis and foreigners alike come to my family’s quaint restaurant off the road in Thuwal and become frequent visitors,” he told Arab News. “Everyone here knows their fish, they know when to fish them and the best ways of cooking them.”