Al-Qarah mountains and desert

Where rocks were marked by History

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100 kilometers north of the city of Najran, between the high mountains of the Sarawat and the grandiose sand dunes of the Rub' Al-Khali lays a sandstone massif named Al-Qarah.

The surrounding of Al-Qarah offer wonderful landscapes with mixed rocks and sand creating infinite variety of shades of beige, brown, and ocer depending on the time of the day and the sun light.

Contrast of colors created by the evening light on the sandstones of Al-Qarah mountains (photo: Elizabeth Henrich)

Contrast of colors created by the evening light on the sandstones of Al-Qarah mountains (photo: Elizabeth Henrich)

Surroundings of Jebel Kawkab (photo: Elisabeth Henrich)

Surroundings of Jebel Kawkab (photo: Elisabeth Henrich)

Al-Qarah hosts some of the most fascinating archeological sites of Najran Province with some of the richest and most exceptional rock art sites of Saudi Arabia.

On the rock surfaces of this massif, as many proofs of the climate changes, were carved throughout millennia thousands of representations of humans (hunter, fighters, horsemen,...) and of animals like lions, ibexes, sheep, buffaloes, camels,...

Short inscriptions in pre-Islamic alphabets carved on the rocks of Al-Qarah are countless.

Ancient rock art in the surroundings of Al-Qarah (photo: F. Egal)

Ancient rock art in the surroundings of Al-Qarah (photo: F. Egal)

The most emblematic site of Al-Qarah is undoubtedly Bir Hima. This well which was still in use few decades ago was already popular during the first millennium BCE when the caravans transporting frankincense, myrrh, and other precious commodities from the ancient kingdoms of the Arabia Felix to the north of the Arabian Peninsula.

In 523 CE the troops of Himyar, an ancient kingdom located in today's Yemen, besieged Najran. A general of this army addressed a message to the local population to exhort them to surrender to his king, Dhu Nuwas.

Inscription of Dhu Nuwas in Bir Hima (photo: Florent Egal)

To do so, he made an inscription in Sabean script carved in one of the most frequented places of the area, Bir Hima, a well popular among locals and travelers. This message of past propaganda is still visible today and can be visited.



Where rocks were marked by History (author: Florent Egal)

About the Author

My name is Florent Egal, I am a French national living in Riyadh since January 2010. After six years of exploration of Saudi Arabia I have decided to show with this website that KSA has much more to offer than the stereotype landscape of empty extends of sand dunes. I hope that after reading through these pages people will feel the same willingness and amazement than I have to discover this fascinating country