"Al Ula and Madain Saleh" Top 5 Page for this destination Al `Ula by sjazeerah

Al `Ula Travel Guide: 44 reviews and 154 photos

JAMIL and BUTHAINA, the arab Romeo and Julia

Once upon a time, at least 2100 years ago, there was a pretty nabatean girl called Buthaina. Her father was the owner of the above rockgrave / qasar.
Buthaina was lucky. She raised up in a well situated family. She became even luckier when she fell in love with a boy. His name was Jamil and he lived in the next to her neighbourhood. Oh, Jamil loved Buthaina, too. But unfortunately, their love was forbidden and couldn't be completed. Being crazy for love and passion Buthaina kept on dating Jamil. Earlier or later Buthaina's father heard about his daughter's secret affair and decided to bann her onto the top of that rock. Living between heaven and hill and being exposed to sun, wind, sandstorms and the observing neighbours from the ground at day and night Buthaina's heart for Jamil even grew and grew. The lonely life on that rock made her feel very melancholic especially at night. It was in a dark night. The Chariot had just arisen in the East announcing a brightful heaven with millions of shining stars when a slight but continous wind carried Buthaina's wailing but longing aramaic love-ballads to the ears of her Nabatean people. And so the wind reached Jamil's ears and mind. Like in trance and having no other choice Jamil walked into that wind. He climbed up that high hill with Buthaina's smooth and cheerful voice in his ears, in his eyes, in his whole mind.
It was after midnight when he reached the top of the hill. Everything appeared so calm and dark exept for the millions of shining stars and two bright bodies who found their peace between heaven and hill.

Peace is a rare good and once found - unlikely forever. Jamil's and Buthaina's peace ended when the Chariot approached the West announing dawn in the East.

Jamil was sentenced but stayed alive.

This is the story of the above qasar according to the local version of Mada'in Saleh.

Desperate for ....?

There were NO TOILETS in Old Al Ula which accomodated around 15000 people until the early 1980s. If a woman was desperate for the toilet she took another female escort and left the town for a pee.
Anyway, the inhabitants of Al Ula used their town mainly at night because they were working during the day in the oasis.

20-25 years ago the poeple of Al Ula left their town and moved into modern houses. They did not really like to do so but they were given money by the government for leaving the old town as the government wanted its population to be modernised.
Nowadays the government regrets. But too late is too late. Old Al Ula is going to be ruined more and more every winter due to rain and lack of maintenance. A real pity.

Thamuthians and their inscriptions

The Thamuthians (people of the prophet Saleh) lived here 4200 years ago. You can still see their remainings like the donation-rock with inscriptions in Thamuthic writing. Even nowadays you can still see laundry as donation near that rock. The site is not fenced at all. Where else than in Saudi Arabia can you find antiques sites open and unprotected?

Sorry, I do not know the meaning of the inscription shown on that photo.

Did you notice that the left part of that rock is similar to a cat-monster face? and above on the right you can see a small face which looks like a calf and dog together. The eyes are not completely shown on that photo. I have just seen it right now. That's all made by nature.
If you rotate that photo 180degrees you can see in the lower left part the left profile of NOFRETE, godmade - too, of course.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:history, antiques, phenomenes, children playing on the streets and fields
  • Cons:none
  • In a nutshell:jewel of the kingdom, hardly touched touristical site
  • Last visit to Al `Ula: Apr 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (4)

Comments (1)

  • Doctor38's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2009 at 7:57 PM

    Buthaina's father was NOT the owner of the Qasr. He did NOT slaughter his daughter. She got marreid to some one else. Jamil and Buthiana lived 1300 years ago "not 2100". Jamil's poems are very will known and documented.

Top 5,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 2 2 5 0

Badges & Stats in Al `Ula

  • 4 Reviews
  • 31 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 3,894PageViews

Have you been to Al `Ula?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Al `Ula


See All Friends (2)

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)