"MADA'IN SALEH" Top 5 Page for this destination Mada'in Salih by 1W1V

Mada'in Salih Travel Guide: 94 reviews and 333 photos

If you can only visit one place in Saudi Arabia, make it Madain Saleh, which rises up from the sands in a landscape of rare beauty. Madain Saleh is home to 131 tombs, 45 of which carry inscriptions in late Aramaic script above the doors. A permit is required but most hotels and tour operators can arrange one if you fax them your details a week in advance.

The Nabataeans, who carved the astonishing city of Petra (in Jordan) chose Madain Saleh as their second city. Although the tombs are less spectacular here than those in Petra, the landscape of sweeping sand and wonderful rock formations is stunningly beautiful. The tombs are also in an excellent state of preservation, due largely to the fact that the local stone is much harder than that found at Petra.

During its prime, it was an important stop on the caravan routes from the incense-producing areas of southern Arabia to Syria, Egypt, Byzantium and other points. The immense stone tombs, which have made it famous, were carved between 100BC and 100AD and the city itself was the second city in the Nabataean Empire, after Petra in modern-day Jordan.
The Nabataeans became rich through their control of the incense route and their charging caravans tolls of up to 25%. They entered a decline in the first century AD when the Romans realized that the incense could be loaded onto ships and taken to Egypt. Less expensive items continued to move along the route and it was never totally abandoned. In Islamic times, the pilgrim route from Damascus to Makkah passed through Madain Salih.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Unique in the world
  • Cons:Permit, minders
  • In a nutshell:This is the place to visit in Saudi Arabia
  • Last visit to Mada'in Salih: Jan 2005
  • Intro Updated Aug 5, 2005
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Reviews (15)

Comments (2)

  • MM212's Profile Photo
    Sep 13, 2007 at 10:59 AM

    Great pictures from a place rarely visited. I definitely want to visit here one day. thanks for sharing

  • leonik's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2005 at 5:44 PM

    this is high on my travel wishlist! unfortunately it's just so hard to visit KSA as a non-muslim traveler...

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