HEGRA (الحِجْر)

Less than 22 km from Al-Ula is Hegra (also known as Madain Saleh or Mada’in Salih), built amid rugged desert canyons and mountainous terrain. It lies in the most stunning setting that bears testimony to the Nabataean civilization. The ticket costs 95 SAR, and the tour runs at 08:00, 09:00, and 16:00 (duration 3 hours).

With roots tracing back to the middle of the first century BC, the Hegra site gave us a good indication of what the Nabataean city looked like back then. Strategically positioned south of its famous sister site of Petra in Jordan, this archaeological gem of the kingdom was also once an important trade route between the Arabian Peninsula, the Mediterranean world, and Asia. After the desertion of the Nabataean city, the trail continued to play its role as a bustling trade route for caravans heading towards Makkah for pilgrimage until the 20th century, when the Hijaz railway was constructed.

This picturesque stone city has over a hundred artistically hewn well-preserved tombs that enliven the sandstone outcrops. In addition, these sheer cliffs are lined with carvings and inscriptions.

Parking location – Hegra: 26.769766N 37.946436E