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“Must see in Saudi!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mada'in Saleh

Mada'in Saleh
Al Ula, Saudi Arabia
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Ranked #1 of 2 Attractions in Al Ula
Type: Ancient Ruins, Cultural
Attraction details
Great Yeldham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
105 reviews 105 reviews
33 attraction reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Must see in Saudi!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

Amazing and un exploited. We were the only visitors the day we were there! I didn't realize that the ottoman train line was here at the site. They are still doing archaealogical work here and the discoveries will be more and more amazing. If you are in Saudi don't leave before coming here!

Visited May 2012
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English first
Saint Louis, Missouri
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
33 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Al Ula, Mada'in Saleh and Historical wonders of Saudi Arabia”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2012

A wonderful trip with friends from Riyadh organized by C3classicculture@yahoo.com. We travelled from Riyadh to Medina and then went by Van to Al ULa. Along the way we stopped at the old Jewish Dam in Khaybar (Arabic,خيبر is the name of an oasis some 153 km to the north of Medina (ancient Yathrib), Saudi Arabia. It was inhabited by Jews before the rise of Islam, and was conquered by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 629 AD). For many centuries, the oasis at Khaybar was an important caravan stopping place. The center developed around a series of ancient dams built to hold run-off water from the rain. Around the water catchments, date palms grew. Khaybar became an important date-producing center. Today the Dam has been interupted but the sides are in good shape and this is a nice stopping point for lunch.
We then continued our Journey to Al Ula and stayed at the Arac hotel. A very nice 3 star hotel with confortable accomodations, and a wonderful buffet. We explored the the surrounding area for severlal hours and then in the evening visited the mud city and fortress at Dedan.(The older history of the oasis has been divided into several phases. The Dedanite kingdom spans to the seventh and sixth century BC. Dedan is mentioned in the "Harran Inscriptions". In these it is told how Nabonidus the king of Babylonia made a military campaign to northern Arabia in 552 BC or somewhat later, conquering Tayma, Dedan and Yathrib, the old Medina. It is thought that around the turn to the fifth century BC the kingdom became hereditary.). After this we visited The Hejaz (also Hedjaz) Railway (Turkish: Hicaz Demiryolu) which was a narrow gauge railway (1,050 mm (3 ft 5 1⁄3 in) track gauge) that ran from Damascus to Medina, through the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, with a branch line to Haifa on the Mediterranean Sea. It was a part of the Ottoman railway network and was built to extend the line from the Haydarpaşa Terminal in Istanbul beyond Damascus to the holy city of Mecca. It got no further than Medina, 400 kilometres (250 mi) short of Mecca, due to the interruption of the construction works caused by the outbreak of World War I). This "interuption" was in part assisted by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia).
The next day we visited the Tombs of Mada'in Saleh. Mada'in Saleh (Arabic: مدائن صالح, madāʼin Ṣāliḥ), also called Al-Hijr or Hegra (so in Greek and Latin, e.g. by Pliny ), is a pre-Islamic archaeological site located in the Al-Ula sector, within the Al Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia.[2] A majority of the vestiges date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century CE). The site constitutes the kingdom's southernmost and largest settlement after Petra, its capital. Traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation before and after the Nabatean rule, respectively, can also be found in situ,[5] while accounts from the Qur’an tell of an earlier settlement of the area by the tribe of Thamud in the 3rd millennium BC.

According to the Islamic text, the Thamudis, who would carve out homes in the mountains, were punished by Allah for their persistent practice of idol worship and for conspiring to kill Saleh (an Arab prophet mentioned in the Qu'ran), the non-believers being struck by an earthquake and lightning blasts. Thus, the site has earned a reputation down to contemporary times as a cursed place— an image which the national government is attempting to overcome as it seeks to develop Mada'in Saleh, officially protected as an archaeological site since 1972, for its tourism potential.[

In 2008, for its well-preserved remains from late antiquity, especially the 131 rock-cut monumental tombs, with their elaborately ornamented façades, of the Nabatean kingdom, UNESCO proclaimed Mada'in Saleh as a site of patrimony, becoming Saudi Arabia's first World Heritage Site.

All in all a wonderful trip in Saudi Arabia that should be on the dont miss list for Visitors to the Kingdom

.

Visited May 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Absolutely magnificent! MADAIN SALEH”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2012

19JAN12.The trip can be easily done in a weekend when traveling from Jeddah. You can leave Jeddah somewhere in the 9pm on Thursday, arrive friday sunrise, and return the same day at 2pm via Medina city. Travel time total 16hrs (Jeddah-Medina-Al Ula-Jeddah) Madain Saleh important UNESCO archeological site ..It is more beautiful and mysterious seeing it in person.....hard to visualize exactly rock formation are fantastic.. no amenities are provided for visitors, and tourists, just hire a car 4x4 from Al Ula to visit the whole site. Tourism permit irequired available at City of Al-Ula from Saturday to Wednesday or may contact Hotel at Madain Saleh to provide you entrance permit, if required. We came without permit we just explain nicely to the guard our objective visiting the place and residence permit (IQAMA) honored on the gate and we get in the sites.

Visited January 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Al-Oula & Madain Saleh”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2011

I have been there quite a few times & enjoyed the city & surroundings of Al-Oula.
Madain Salih (city of Prophet Salih, 22KM from Al-oula) is one of major attractions, now registered as World heritage site (http://www.pbase.com/adnan_masood/madain_saleh). Architecture is similar to Petra (Jordan) & for those who are interested in archeology & history, will enjoy this site.

One needs permission from authorities to visit the site, there are 2 hotels, which are quite comfortable & these hotels can arrange permission & guided trips to Madain Salih (I never used guides there). Hotels are Madain Saleh hotel & ARAC hotel.

Visited November 2010
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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