Ha’il World Heritage Site II
A land of dreams of ancient Arabia
From the massive Jebel Shammar till the vast extends of dunes of the majestic Nafud Al-Kebir, and from the ancient artists of prehistory till the early explorers of Arabia, Hail Province offers a travel through both mythical Arabian landscapes and time.
Ha’il is well known by the generosity of its people in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world as it is the place where Hatim Al-Tai lived, who was a famous Arab poet and one of the characters of the 1001 Nights. Stories about his extreme generosity have made him an icon to Arabs up till the present day, as in the proverbial phrase "more generous than Hatem".
The capital of the province, the city of Ha’il lays on the eastern side of the massive Jebel Shammar which gave his name to one of the tribes of Saudi Arabia, the Al-Shammary, originating from this region of the Arabian Peninsula and that can be found today till Syria and the Levant.
Hail Province hosts the most prominent Rock Arts sites of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Jubbah, located 90 km north of the city of Ha’il is the most famous rock art site in Saudi Arabia. This major archaeological site hosts hundreds of ancient carvings covering a large period of time starting some 10 000 years ago and that cover a wide range of representations with human representations, cattle, ibexes, oryxes, deers, gazelles, horses, camels, lions, and ostriches.
The oldest carvings that can be found on the sandstone formations are a testimony of a time when permanent lakes were watered by regular rainfalls, even on the edge of the sand dunes of the Nafoud Al-Kebir.
During the time of caravans in the first century BCE the people trading precious goods originating from the south of the Arabian Peninsula stayed in Jubbah on their way to cross the 350 km of sand dunes of the Nefud Al-Kebir as attested by the numerous so-called Thamudic inscriptions carved by travelers.
Less famous than Jubbah but not less fascinating, Janine is one of the very rare places in Saudi Arabia where carvings where done inside a cave that is 100 meters long. On this isolated sandstone massif people let a trace of their passage for thousands of years as attested on a rock at the bottom of the cave where is represented a water-buffalo that is extinct for about 7 000 years.
Janine hosts some rare features such as graffiti in Safaitic, an ancient script that was used in Syria nearly 2000 years ago, and many carvings of hands whose signification is not clear but as SCTH speculation it is of Ethiopian origin!
There are also other ancient scripts along with human animal representations but also some more abstract drawings that remain enigmatic.
The archeological site of Fayd will bring you back to the time when Arabian desert was traveled by walking merchants and pilgrims. Located halfway between Baghdad and Mecca the oasis of Fayd (in Arabic: فــيــد) was at the most strategic location along the the famous road named Darb Zubaydah after the name of the princess who had a prominent role in the improvement of the facilities along the road. The oasis that benefited from underground water and cisterns collecting rainwater attracted pilgrims and merchants who converged to this oasis for more than five centuries and was chanted by many famous Arab travelers.
The archaeological site comprises a Museum with explanations (in Arabic) and artifacts from the ancient fortress and its surroundings.Excavations have revealed habitations, streets, ovens, an old mosque but the most impressive feature of Fayd is the fortifications walls composed of two concentric compounds and towers made of black basalt whose dimensions give an idea of the extend of the ancient city.
It is not well-known as Saudi Arabia is an active volcanic zone with hundreds of volcanoes, especially in the western part of the country. In Tabah, near the historical site of Fayd, is a special testimony of a rare and cataclysmic event as the magma rising towards the surface met underground water. The combination of heat and water created such pressure that the ground literally blew up what created a crater that is still visible today and with an easy access to reach a good viewpoint.