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Saudi Arabia is not a standard destination to visit. Which is a shame, because this country has a rich history. With many special attractions to visit. The country is slowly opening up to tourism. So the chances to visit is increasing.
Saudi Arabia is known by most people because of Mecca and oil. Honestly, fair travel is tricky. The country has some special attractions as mentioned in this article.
The country is not a popular destination for tourists. This is partly due to the strict regulations in the country. Saudi Arabia strictly adheres to Sharia law, the law of Islam. In addition, the penalties are very substantial by our standards. If you're gay, you're in danger of the death penalty.
The landscape consists of desert, small and large mountains. With serious mountains, such as the Jawal Sawda which is 3,133 meters. Which is the highest mountain in Saudi. This scenic beauty can be found in the south fairly close to the coast. The largest desert is Rub al-Khali in the south. There's hardly any life, as it's so dry and hot.
The capital Riyadh is located in the Nadjd region, which is the centre of the country. This region mainly consists of rocks, although you can also find wadis (oases). Many riverbeds are dry most of the year.
These are the best highlights in Saudi Arabia.
Madain Saleh is a remote desert town with a fascinating past. This town’s old name is Hegra. Madain Saleh is also known as Mada'in Saleh. It is unclear what the common name will be in the coming years.
This temple city was created by the Nabataeans. These relatively unknown people have also made it to the world famous
In Madain Saleh you will also find tombs carved into rocks. The big difference, however, is that Madain Saleh has been carved into loose rocks, whilst Petra was carved into a gorge. This gives Madain Saleh a very different atmosphere.
The most famous and largest tomb is Qasr Al Farid, aka The Lonely Castle. The façade is 14 by 22 meters high. There are several temples in the landscape. This a special journey of discovery. Madain Saleh has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. Madain Saleh is about 200 miles north of Medina.
Al Ula, or Al'Ula, is a ghost town of 800 small mud houses which are more than 2,000 years old. Stone houses have been built here and there. Archaeologists believe it was an important trading place within the Arab kingdom of Lihyan. Mostly silk and spices were traded. The route was between Egypt and India.
The ruins are in poor condition, although there are plans for a large-scale restoration. This region will be promoted by the government for tourism in the coming years.
Al Ula is located in an oasis in the desert valley. It's a place with a lot of fertile soil. Centuries-old petroglyphs of people and animals are also found. An example is the locally famous Elephant Rock, a rock that looks like an elephant.
Al-Diriyah is a famous suburb of the capital Riyadh. This is where the Saudi dynasty was founded in the 15th century. If you walk around you can visit the imposing palaces. These are made of clay. The remains of mosques and the citadel can also be seen. The ruins have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010.
Mecca is well known, but the city is forbidden to non-Muslims. This is the birthplace of the holy prophet Muhammad. It is one of the most sacred places in Saudi Arabia and far beyond. Every year millions of believers come to the city, especially during hajj.
The Grand Mosque is the second largest building in the world. In the middle of the square is the Kaaba. According to Islamic tradition, this is the first place of worship in the world. Pilgrims walk around the Kaaba seven times during hajj.