Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madain Salih) [ Saudi Arabia ]

cultural property

        2006-2007 | listed in 2008 | english

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SCTA (Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


November 2006 / January 2007
listed in July 2008


UNESCO World Heritage Centre / Madain Salih

SCTH website / Madain Saleh

The monumental ensemble of al-Hijr stone carved façades, typical of the Nabataean civilization, is an outstanding example of this type of architecture whose value is further enhanced by their unique setting in a preserved landscape that has not suffered any major change since the Nabataean period.

Sited in a valley settled from the remote antiquity, ancient Hegra was located at the crossroad of international trade routes and of different cultures and civilizations. It played a key role in the exchange of goods and cultural traditions between Arabia and the Classic world, and became a wealthy and important halt for the caravans crossing the Arabian Peninsula carrying incense and spices from Yemen and India to the Mediterranean Sea.

Rich in underground water easily accessible through wells, al-Qura valley and al-Hijr area allowed the development of a flourishing agriculture that still characterizes the area.

Al-Hijr is mentioned in the Quran and in various Nabataean inscriptions on the site, in classical Greek and Roman sources, as well as in several books by Arab and European historians and travellers. Its most outstanding architectural remains are a unique testimony of ancient rock-cut technology

RC Heritage had the chance to profit of the expertise of Dr. Laila Nehmé, specialist of the Nabataean civilisation and co-director of the French-Saudi Archaeological Mission at al-Hijr. Throughout the drafting phase of the document, regular meetings were held in Riyadh and in al-‘Ula with all the concerned stakeholders at the national and local levels.