Mada’in Saleh

Mada’in Saleh

Mada’in Saleh is situated in the North West of Saudi Arabia. It is the most stunning region in Saudi Arabia and it happens to be a sister city to Petra in Japan. The site is popular for its rock-cut tombs, which proves the affluence of the Nebateans who imposed taxes on the camels on the enraged path of Mesopotamia, Greece and Egypt at some stage in and before the first century (Healey, 1993). The only difference that existed between Petra and Mada’ in Saleh is that, it was not inhabited by the Romans. The old stations in this area have exposed the structures that are made of adobe accompanied by stone fundamentals. Other things that were revealed include a variety of crude, coated and refined ceramics, which were decorated with animal and plant jumbles. Most of the works of art that are found in this area are placed at the National Museum in Riyadh whilst the others are found in the confined museum. The areas that encircle this place have many of the past reserves such as rock-cut vaults, and dedications, which are incomprehensible Dedanite, Lihyanite and Minaean writings of 7th and 5th centuries BC.

The historical site, which should be visited by almost every one in the world, is Mada’in Saleh, which is 400 km North of Medina in the track of Tabuk and the Jordanian border. Mada’in Saleh consists of almost 140 splendid vaults of Nabataean derivation. This is similar to Petra, which is located in a different form of scenery. The difference between the two places is that the tombs that are found in Petra are concentrated in one area whereas the tombs of Mada-in Saleh are widened out in an area with granite rocks where the tombs have been built. To visit the place, one should get an authorization in advance and this carried on in a lodge, which is found close to Al Ula. In addition, one needs a car most probably a four-wheel drive, although it is not a compulsory. If this type of a car is not available, one can opt for a different model. Similar to this area is, Petra in Jordan, the only difference being, its location is in a different scenery. Whereas in Petra the tombs are essentially compressed into a constricted canyon, in Mada’in Saleh they are widened over a huge untied desert space, with granite rocks in which the tombs have been made from. One needs two or more days to go round the historical site of Mada Al Saleh. Ottoman Hejaz Railway is located in between the tombs of the Mada Al Saleh spots. The railway line was built between 1900 and 1908 to link Damascus and Medina, which was for the support of the military force in that area.

The outlook of this city in the hours of daylight is that of blonde escalation set alongside the far-away molten rock tableland of Harrat al-Uwayrid (Babelli, 2007). This is one of the enormous attractive incidences of Saudi Arabia. In the past, Madain Saleh was known as the Hegra or by its Arabic name Hijr. It is found in a remote area outside Al-Ula in the North West of Saudi Arabia. It is positioned in between Tabuk and Madinah. The people who were found in this area were the Nebateans. They embraced the late Aramaic language, which had traces of the Arabic manipulation. Several years before Mohammed was born, the kingdom expanded from Damascus to Red sea. In 577BC, it was taken over by Rome. It was in 533BC that the Trajan monarch was rehabilitated into the Arabian territory. The success of the Nebateans resulted from the existence of engineers in the ancient world. This was because of the work done by the engineers who connected the areas water supply through a set-up of trenches, canals and wells, which were then referred to as the qanats and are presently in existence.

The ruins of Medain Saleh bring out the stunning features of engineering, which makes them to be popular. In this area, one is likely to find mammoth crypts, which are made of rocks positioned independently in a rising and falling sea of sand. The name given to these confined features are Bedouin, which have been embraced by the archeologists (Healey, 2007). Most of the tourists who visit the area progress clockwise in the region of Mada Al Saleh. Oasr al-Saneh is the initial tomb that one comes across though it is not as splendid as the other tombs, but it gives a preface to the major fundamentals of the structural design of the tombs. The Nebatean tombs are impressive with the five-step patterns and the dedications found on top of all their front entrances.

Al Khuraymat is one of the several conserved tombs in Madain Saleh. It has abundant cryptograms, which bonds the inventions of edifying metaphors of the Abyssyinians, Egyptians and several other tribes. In the Northeast, there is the Nabatean water catchment area called the Jabal Ithlib and the Mud-brick buildings of the Nebateans (Babelli, 2007). These constructions are encircled by an open space. On contrary, in Pedra, the sister city of the Madein Al Saleh, the area is loomed by a constricted gap known as the Siq. Inside the unfastened lobby, which is called the Diwan, has been trimmed into a rock. It is bordered with a strut of pilasters, having counters made of stone encircling its interior surfaces.

Charles Doughty believes that there was an architrave, which had descended with the obverse of a ceiling. He believes the ceiling blocks the sun from shining bringing about a cool breeze, which gives people a stimulation of peace and stillness. To get a clear view of Maiden Saleh, one has to climb the top of Jabal Ithlib. Two snakes are imprinted in the exterior part of Oasr Al Bint, which indicates that the tomb is well guarded. This is the Greek manipulation on the Nebatean art. The desertion of the construction of the tomb gives people the imminent of its entire construction. The decoration on all entrances of the tombs indicated plates that were used in the religious events suggesting that most of the foundations found there were tombs. Oasr Al Farid is an extraordinary tomb, which has been made from a secluded rock (Healey, 1993). This rock was built for Haian Ibn Koza and its construction was incomplete. This tomb faces to the west giving an outstanding tribute in the afternoon. Oasr al-Sani Madain Saleh is an essential religious spot, which has been cited in the Quran. Having meals near this tomb is forbidden to protect the religious sacredness of Madain Saleh.

Generally, it can be drawn that Mada Al Saleh is a very stunning historical site, which is found in Saudi Arabia. It is well known for its well-shaped tombs from stone. Al-Ula is a city found near Mada Al Saleh where people can make their bookings early in advance before visiting the place. In this area, there are hotels where people can spend their entire time during their visitation to this area. The first tomb that one finds when going around Mada Al Saleh is the Oasr al Saneh, which is not as stunning as the other tombs but it introduces the architectural sites in Mada Al Saleh. Al Khuraymat is one of the well-maintained tombs in the area for it has a symbol that bonds the cultural inventions of the Egyptians and the Abyssyinians (Babelli, 2007).

In conclusion, Oasr Al Bint is a tomb, which is decorated by the use of two snakes on the entrances of each of the tombs signifying that they are well protected. Oasr Al Farid is an exceptional tomb whose construction is incomplete and since it faces the west, it gives a stunning tribute in the afternoon. The Oasr al-Sani is a religious stone, which is adored by the Nebatians. This is so, for it gives protection to the religious sacredness of Madain Saleh. Generally, there are different types of tombs in Mada Al Saleh with each of them having its meaning and function to the ancient Nebatians. It can be concluded that this area is occupied mostly by the ancient Arabs who have embraced the Arabic language. The religious believes that prevail in the area are those of the Muslim culture. This historical site can be the best to be visited by those people who love art and especially in carvings. This is because most of the tombs are carved and decorated to bring out their monumental artistic features.




Babelli, M. (2007). Mada’in Saleh, Lazio, Italy: M. Babelli.

Healey, John F (1993), The Nabataean tomb inscriptions of Mada’in Salih, Fulton, GA: Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of Manchester.

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