Saudi eases access to long- hidden ancient ruins

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by SajeevJino, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. SajeevJino

    SajeevJino Long walk Elite Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    5,654
    Likes Received:
    3,032
    Location:
    Inside a Cage
    AL-HIJR, Saudi Arabia — Fully draped in a
    black veil, Irish blonde Angela Miskelly
    stares out in awe as she strolls through
    Al-Hijr, the ancient Saudi city of tombs
    carved into rose-coloured sandstone
    mountains.




    Dating back to the second century BC, the
    Nabataean archaeological site, also known
    as Madain Saleh, has long been hidden
    from foreign visitors in this ultra-
    conservative kingdom that rarely opens
    up to tourists.


    Saudi Arabia is thought to have been wary
    of archaeologists and scientists seeking to
    study its ancient ruins for fear their
    findings could shine the spotlight on pre-
    Islamic civilisations that once thrived
    there.


    In recent years, however, Saudis have
    increasingly ventured to these sites and
    the authorities are more tolerant of their
    curiosity.
    Described as the largest and best
    preserved site of the Nabataean
    civilisation south of Petra in Jordan,
    Madain Saleh is the first Saudi
    archaeological site to be inscribed on
    UNESCO's World Heritage List.


    It lies 320 kilometres (200 miles) north of
    Medina, the Islamic holy city of western
    Saudi Arabia, and extends for some 15
    square kilometres (six sq miles).
    According to UNESCO, it includes 111
    tombs, most of which boast a decorated
    facade, cave drawings and even some pre-
    Nabataean inscriptions.
    It also boasts intricately designed water
    wells that serve as a prime example of
    the Nabataeans' architectural and
    hydraulic genius.


    The Nabataeans first inhabited the area in
    the second century BC, but their ancient
    civilisation existed as far back as the
    eighth or seventh century BC in the
    countries of the Levant, including
    Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and at times
    even extending into the Sinai peninsula in
    Egypt.


    Originally nomads from the Arabian
    peninsula, the Nabataeans were masters
    of trade, dominating the incense and
    spice routes in the pre-Islamic period.
    Their civilisation collapsed in 106 AD at
    the hands of the Roman empire.
    After decades of prohibiting visitors, Saudi
    authorities are now increasingly allowing
    entry into pre-Islamic archaeological sites
    in the kingdom, though Western tourists
    are still a rare site.


    In February 2007, four French citizens
    were murdered while returning from an
    outing to Madain Saleh. The victims were
    in a party of nine French people from
    three families living in the Saudi capital
    Riyadh.
    They were killed when two people
    opened fire on them with machineguns
    after they lost their way 90 kilometres
    from Medina.


    No group ever formally claimed
    responsibility but authorities at the time
    said that the mastermind behind the
    attack was a 23-year-old suspected Qaeda
    militant who held Saudi citizenship.
    Officials at Madain Saleh say that the
    number of visitors to the site reached
    40,000 last year, most of them Saudis and
    foreign residents of the kingdom.
    They hold hopes that figure will double in
    2012 with the government relaxing entry
    restrictions.


    Though prior consent is required for
    access to Madain Saleh, it can now be
    obtained more easily from the nearby
    town of Al-Ola, or from Riyadh.
    The highest volume of visitors is between
    December and March, given the lower
    temperatures in the otherwise scorching
    desert heat.


    Two museums also exist on site, including
    one devoted to the famous Hejaz railway
    built by the Ottomans in the early 20th
    century that ran from Damascus to
    Medina and passed through Al-Hijr.
    The second museum, which opened its
    doors to visitors just two months ago,
    traces the pilgrimage route to Islam's
    holiest city of Mecca.


    On his first visit to the ancient site, Saudi
    national Tareq al-Adawi from the
    northwestern city of Tabuk says he was
    "overwhelmed."
    "I encourage all Saudis to come visit this
    place," he says of Madain Saleh.
    Another Saudi tourist, Ahmed al-
    Moghrabi, says he was "shocked by the
    majesty of the place."


    A small team of French archaeologists in
    partnership with their Saudi colleagues
    are now carrying out excavations on the
    site in an effort to preserve and better
    understand its ancient history.
    Madain Saleh, though likely one of Saudi's
    most famous archaeological sites, is not
    its only one.
    The area bears evidence of other ancient
    civilisations.



    Just 22 kilometres from Madain Saleh is
    Al-Ola, located on the ancient incense
    route. The city served as the capital of
    Lihyan, an ancient Arab kingdom.
    It is home to archaeological remnants
    that date back thousands of years,
    including it's citadel which is some 8,000
    years old.


    AFP: Saudi eases access to long-hidden ancient ruins
     
  2.  
  3. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,195
    Likes Received:
    2,223
    any pics??
     
  4. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    6,359
    Likes Received:
    3,661
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Yes pictures of this sight would be wonderful
     
  5. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    6,359
    Likes Received:
    3,661
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Some of the photos from the Google search

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Beauty in the desert.
     
  6. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,159
    Location:
    EST, USA
    Nabataean Architecture, from within KSA, and without

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [HR][/HR]

    [​IMG]
    Tintin et al. visiting the ruins (well, actually taking refuge).
     
  7. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,884
    Likes Received:
    1,568
    Location:
    Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh(INDIA)
    Post more buddy.......

    Great going.........
     
  8. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,159
    Location:
    EST, USA
    More pictures of the ruins of the Nabatean Culture:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,195
    Likes Received:
    2,223
    ^^^^^^^ magnificent
     
  10. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    4,893
    Likes Received:
    3,688
    Location:
    Bengaluru
    Beautiful.
     
  11. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,663
    Likes Received:
    17,159
    Location:
    EST, USA
    Crossposting:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015

Share This Page