Religion, history, and amazing lanscapes
The Province of Madinah gathers together all the wonders that Saudi Arabia has to offer: a place of spirituality with the Holy City of Madinah which is the second holiest site in Islam; the exceptionally rich history of Maddain Saleh, which was the first Saudi Arabian site listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site; and of course sublime natural locations with the sandstone formations of the Al-Ula Region, the pristine beaches of the Red Sea, and the white volcanoes of the Harrat Bani Rashid.
Madinah City - Al-Masjid An-Nabawi
The mosque of the Prophet, named in Arabic Al-Masjid An-Nabawi, was originally established and built by the Messenger of Islam, Muhammad. It lies next to the house where Muhammad settled after his immigration from Mekka in 622 CE which marks the beginning of the Hijri calendar. This mosque is the resting place of the Prophet Muhammad as well as the first two caliphs, Abu Bakr As-Sediq and Umar Bin Al-Khattab. Al-Masjid An-Nabawi is one of the largest mosques in the world and its glorious history made it the second holiest site in Islam after the Kaaba in Mekkah. As such it is an important pilgrimage site for Muslims performing the Hajj.
Hegra - Maddain Saleh - Al-Ula
Built mostly during the first century CE the ancient city of Hegra (more known under the name of Madain Saleh) is sometimes called the Petra of Saudi Arabia because of its ressemblance to the capital of the Nabatean Empire in today's Jordan. Chosen by the Nabateans for its strategical location on the ancient caravan trade road, the Nabatean people built a city which is currently being excavated by a Saudi-French archeological mission. Today the visitors can admire the 94 tombs dug in the sandstone similar to those in Petra, the Triclinum, the ancient wells, and dozens of Nabatean and ancient Arabic inscriptions left by people who lived in this site which was the first one in Saudi Arabia listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Hegra is located 20 kilometers north to the old city of Al-Ula where the Prophet Muhammad stayed for three days on his way to Tabuk. This oasis which still today hosts lush palm tree plantations has seen many civilizations settled between its impressive sandstone cliffs throughout millennia.
Today thousands of ancient carvings and inscriptions, the tombs and the city of Daidan, and the old city of Al-Ula are the most visible testimonies to the long term human activity in the oasis.
The Red Sea
It is too often forgotten that Saudi Arabia is the country which has the longest shoreline with the Red Sea, covering around 2000 kilometers from the Gulf of Aqaba in the north to the Province of Jizan and Farasan Islands in the south. Along this shore can be found deserted beaches and unique access to the Red Sea's pristine waters and the wonders of its untouched coral reefs, which are a paradise for divers.
Jebel Bayda - The While Volcanoes
When one thinks about Saudi Arabia the first and only image that comes to mind is endless stretches of massive sand dunes. But, as surprising as it sounds, Saudi Arabia has a very rich volcanic history... and present! Indeed, hundreds of volcanoes and lava fields, mainly located in the western part of the country, are testimonies to this volcanic activity, including some which delivered their lava just a few centuries ago. The most emblematic being the "couple" Jebel Abiad-Jebel Bayda (in English the White Mount and the White Mountain). These two volcanoes have the rare particularity to have been built by an eruption of commendite, an acidic lava which gave it its sublime white colour.
Places to visit in Madinah Province
Tours organizing trips to Madinah Province
Religion, history, and amazing lanscapes (author: Florent Egal)