Ushaiger Heritage Village

The iconic Najdi Village

Ushaiger is a heritage village located 150 kilometers northwest of Riyadh in the heart of the Najd, the central plateau of the Arabian Peninsula. The village lays on the Al-Washim plain few kilometers west of a narrow range of red sand dunes called ‘Urayq Al-Bildan that extend towards the north that, 100 kilometers further on, become  the massive dunes of Zulfi that ultimately connect to the immense Nefoud Al-Kebir.

Ushaiger that means the “Small Blonde” was named after the color of a small hill that lays at the north of the Village. Although it is made of red rock, locals say the Arabic word for red could be used also for blonde in the old days.

Ushaiger is surrounded by a thick wall with massive towers and wide doors made of ithal (tamarisk) wood that visitors have to go through to enter the heart of the historical village.

The village is organized into seven districts and has many palm groves and orchards that are beautifully integrated to the maze of pathways.

Gates of Ushaiger (photo: Florent Egal)

Gates of Ushaiger (photo: Florent Egal)

Pathway meandering through Ushaiger's houses and palmgroves (photo: Florent Egal)

Pathway meandering through Ushaiger's houses and palmgroves (photo: Florent Egal)

Visiting Ushaiger heritage village offers a pleasant opportunity to walk along the shaded and charming pathways that meander between the 400 mud houses and 25 mosques the village hosts. Some of the houses that still today carry the name of the family that lived in them were renovated and are open to visitors.

The doors are decorated with brandings of circles, disks and other traditional geometric designs.

Decorated door (photo: Florent Egal)

Decorated door (photo: Florent Egal)

Ushaiger prides itself on producing several prominent historical figures including the renowned religious preacher Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahab, Islamic scholar Sheikh Al-Othaimeen, and many poets and thinkers that allow residents of Ushaiger to refer to their village as “Najd’s Womb”.

Today the historical village of Ushaiger belongs to the Tamim tribe and one of the Tamim governor’s houses can be visited. Other tribes lived there as well, such as Al-Sheikh (The family of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahab) and Al-Thani (rulers of the State of Qatar).

The traditions and the rich history of Ushaiger are exhibited in its museum that welcomes visitors as the first major building they encounter after passing through the village’s gates.

Ushaiger Al-Salem Museum (photo: Florent Egal)

Ushaiger Al-Salem Museum (photo: Florent Egal)

How to visit the historical village of Ushaiger?

The village entrance is conveniently at the side of the road, clearly announced by a panel at its entrance, and its location is available on Google Maps. Therefore it can be visited within the opening hours.

Road entrance of Ushaiger Heritage Village (photo: Florent Egal)

Road entrance of Ushaiger Heritage Village (photo: Florent Egal)

If you wish to benefit from the knowledge of our tour guides here are the ones that can arrange private visits of the historical village of Ushaiger.

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Ushaiger Heritage Village: the iconic Najdi Village (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

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