Qassim traditional heritage sites

An heritage made of traditions and poetry


Qassim Province hosts some of the most iconic features of Arabian culture heritage, not only with its famous date festival but also with many other festivals, traditional villages, and museum that have kept alive Arab traditions and lifestyles.

Qassim's traditional architecture

Qassim is host of some of the most vibrant examples of Saudi Arabia traditional architecture.

Qassim Museum

Located on the intersection of King Fahad and King Abdul Aziz roads in Buraidah the museum offers a perfect introduction to the rich heritage of Qassim Province. The building itself is part of the display as a brilliant example of the traditional architecture of the region.

A visitor entering the museum will be welcome by the car that King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the founder of the second Saudi Kingdom, used during his visits to Qassim Province.

Qassim Museum (photo: Zamora Ayie)

Qassim Museum (photo: Zamora Ayie)

The museum hosts historical, scientific and cultural halls that ​offer visitors a fantastic view of the heritage and culture of the area, including a library that propose books and publications about Buraydah and Qassim.

Qassim traditional villages

Qassim Province hosts some of the most authentic and well preserved traditional villages of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Other buildings such as the Al-Bassam house, the Al-Mashqouq Palace, Al Rajhi, Al-Suwaylim buildings, and the Tower of Al-Shananh are must-see places of Qassim for lovers of the charming Saudi Arabian traditional architecture.

Mithnab (photo: Ibrahim Al-Fouzan)

Mithnab (photo: Ibrahim Al-Fouzan)

25 kilometers on the south east of Unaizah lays the village of Mithnab that was restored to a complete traditional village of about 2 square kilometers and more than 384 houses, including a majlis market that won the HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman's award for preservation of traditional architecture.

This market hosts several festivals and events such as the summer events, monthly auctions, folkloric game shows, and others.

50 kilometers to the west are the walls and fortifications of the old town of Al-Khabra that used to protect the 300 houses of beautiful and coherent architectural style.

The four gates open the way to main streets that lead to the traditional souq (market) with his majlis and the mosque which are located at the center of the clay made houses.

In Al-Mithnib a festival celebrating Qassim's heritage takes place every summer.

Al-Khabra old town (photo: Google Earth)

Al-Khabra old town (photo: Google Earth)

Al-Margab watchtower (photo:

30 kilometers north west of Buraydah is the ancient oasis of Uyun Al-Jiwa where meet traditional architecture, a legendary love story, and poetry.

Indeed this oasis which is abundantly quoted by two prominent Arab poets, Imru Al-Qais and Antarah, carries on some rocks the most ancient inscriptions of the region and has beautiful examples of traditional watchtowers such as the Al-Margab.

Along the highway to Madinah Al-Munawarah is a hidden jewel of Qassim Province, an abandoned village in the mountains of the Jabal Aban Al-Asmar. Although the buildings of this old village is unfortunately not maintained some houses and the mosque is still standing.

The mountains of the Jabal Aban Al-Asmar that surrounds it and the palm trees that are still growing offer a picturesque scenery.

Old well at Jabal Aban Al-Asmar (photo: Florent Egal)

Old well at Jabal Aban Al-Asmar (photo: Florent Egal)

The village is easily accessible from the highway as it is just a couple of kilometers south of the exit of An-Nabhaniyah and is a favorite camping spot for locals.

Qassim in classic Arab poetry

​Two ancient oasis of Qassim that still exist today, Unaizah and Jiwa, inspired poems to some of the most famous classic Arab poets.

Sakhrat Antarah (photo: AzizRP)

Sakhrat Antarah (photo: AzizRP)

Antarah (Antar) Ibn Shaddad is a knight and poet of the 6th century CE. His love story with Ablah remained famous as he could marry her only after gaining out of bravery his freedom from slavery. A rock in the oasis of Uyun Al-Jiwa is supposed to have been the meeting place of this mythic couple.

His work was immortalized when one of his poems was included in the Mu'allaqat, the collection of poems whose name means "the suspended odes" or the "the hanging poems", due to the tradition that says they were suspended in the Kaaba in Mekkah.

One of his most famous pieces named "The Poem Of Antar" says: "Oh house of 'Ablah situated at Jiwa, talk with me about those who resided in you. Good morning to you, O house of 'Ablah, and be safe from ruin" [...] / And how may be the visiting of her; while her people have taken up their residence in the spring at 'Unaizatain and our people at Ghailam?"

Antarah Ibn Shaddad and Abla (horemachet from moskva)

Antarah Ibn Shaddad and Abla (horemachet from moskva)

Imru Al-Qais knew the same fame than Antarah as his qaseeda (or long poem) "Let us stop and weep" was also among the seven Mu'allaqat hanged in the Kaaba and even oldest one. Imru Al-Qais was not only the founder of Arab poetry, he was also the grandson of the first king of central Arabia, Hujr bin Amr.

He also quoted the two oases of Qassim in his poetry: "Yet, is there any hope that this desolation can bring me solace? / So before ever I met Unaizah, did I mourn for two others; [...] / On that day I entered the howdah, the camel's howdah of Unaizah! / Oh, Unaizah, gently, put aside some of this coquetry. / If you have, indeed, made up your mind to cut off friendship with me, then do it kindly or gently. / [...] The clouds poured forth their gift on the desert of Ghabeet, till it blossomed / As though a Yemani merchant were spreading out all the rich clothes from his trunks, As though the little birds of the valley of Jiwa awakened in the morning"

Traditional village at Jabal Aban Al-Asmar (photo: Florent Egal)

Traditional village at Jabal Aban Al-Asmar (photo: Florent Egal)

An heritage made of traditions and poetry (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

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Celia Tulloch - April 14, 2017 Reply

Hi Florent,

Many thanks for the great info on Qassim. I’ll be visiting the region this upcoming Monday and Tuesday and would love to see the Mashqouq Palace. I’ve googled it, but can’t find specific information about it’s location. Is it in Buraidah or Unaizah? Any further assistance that you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

    Florent Egal - June 2, 2017 Reply

    Dear Celia,
    Sorry for the late feedback, I am currently working on selecting the guides that can make you discover the country.
    Even if it might be too late here is the location of the Mashqouq palace:
    Best regards,
    Florent Egal

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