Cities on the edge of the world
Located less than 30 kilometers from each other along the impressively high cliffs of the Sarawat mountains, Al-Bahah and Baljureshi are in fact respectively the current and the former capital of the Al-Bahah Province. And they share much more as both cities offer stunning viewpoints on the cliffs of Al-Bahah Province, historical and traditional sites, and green parks.
The city of Al-Bahah will welcome you with its picturesque old villages which can be found throughout the whole area to the outskirts of the city. All of these traditional buildings are now abandoned but locals are proud to see visitors attracted to this testimony of the know-how of their ancestors.
When getting closer to these houses it is noticeable how nicely the wooden frames of the windows are worked, but it is just a hint of what can be found inside the houses where all the carpentry was finely detailed and decorated by skilled artisans.
Currently, the Tuesday Market in the city of Al-Bahah is one of the largest traditional souks in the area. This souk is distinct in that most vendors are locals from the coastal strip named Tihama. All products and crafts that are sold in the souk have come from local providers and include such items as kadi, basil, honey, wickerwork, household items, textiles, livestock and birds, and more.
Al-Bahah Museum for Antiquities and National Heritage
The museum, created by the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH), is located in the city of Baha and highlights the cultural and historical dimension of the area, besides providing community education and awareness. The museum covers the long history of Al-Bahah Province, from prehistory to the Islamic era, until the Saudi unification in the early 20th century.
Baljureshi offers one of the most dramatic viewpoints of Al-Bahah's natural wonders. Indeed, from the park located at the bottom of the majestic rock formation of Jebel Heznah, the sight from the top of the escarpment that separates the Sawarat mountains from the Tihama plain more than 2000 meters lower is breathtaking.
The park is open to all visitors and offers plenty of opportunities for picnicking under the shade of the numerous trees. The bravest would go for a climb till the top of the majestic Jebel Heznah and be rewarded by the highest viewpoint of the whole Province on the escarpment.
Visitors making a stopover at Al-Heznah will meet a familiar figure of the Province's lanscape: the stone made towers, called in Arabic "qasaba". Controversy surrounds their function — some argue that they were built as lookouts, and others that they were keeps, or even granaries. Perhaps it is a combination, although the correct position of a watchtower, on a hilltop, is the wrong place for a keep or granary.
Cities on the edge of the world (author: Florent Egal)