Saudi Arabia Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Saudi Arabia: Holidays, Events, and National Customs

Public holidays

The dates for the Islamic holidays in Saudi Arabia – and other Islamic countries – are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the festival day Eid al-Fitr, Muslims do not eat during the day, but only after sunset. Many restaurants are therefore closed during the day. The Eid al-Fitr and Aid El Kébir festivals last 2-10 days, depending on the region.

Source: Countryaah – Saudi Arabia Holidays

The pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) takes place every year about 60 days after Ramadan.


You can find a representation of the current dates of the holidays in Saudi Arabia under the following link:

Cultural events

The culture and social life in Saudi Arabia are shaped by Wahhabism, a strict, purist interpretation of Islam. The pilgrimage cities of Mecca and Medina give the country a central role in the Islamic world and endeavor to do justice to this by setting an example. The religious police ensure compliance with the strict rules. For example, it is forbidden to operate public theaters or cinemas. Literature is also subject to censorship.

The country’s festivals are predominantly religious in nature.

Every year the two-week Janadriya Culture Festival takes place near Riyadh under the patronage of the kinginstead of. It serves to maintain the traditional culture of Saudi Arabia and around one million visitors take part. The kick-off event is a camel race.


The first football club was founded in 1928, much to the displeasure of the ruling royal family. Until 1951, “football lolling” was forbidden by law. In 1959 the Saudi Arabian Football Federation was founded, which was also funded by the state from 1974. In 1984 and 1988 the “Sons of the Desert” won the Asian Cup. The national team has been a permanent participant in the World Cup finals since 1994. When they first participated, they even reached the round of 16 and were eliminated by Sweden. The other times was already over in the preliminary round. The World Cup in Japan and South Korea, where the Arab eleven had to go home with three defeats and 0:12 goals, was particularly humiliating. Against Germany they lost 8-0 alone. In Germany, the Saudi Arabian national team wants to do better this time at the 2006 World Cup.

Even before football was “socially acceptable” in Saudi Arabia, hawking, camel races and horse races were and are very popular. After all, Saudi Arabia has a world-famous breeding of “Arabs” horses.

National customs

The Saudi criminal law is based on the Islamic Sharia (Koran law or “The unadulterated word of God”) and the Sunna with penal sanctions ranging up to flogging and other corporal punishment. Above all, the following rules must be observed:

During the fasting month of Ramadan, it is forbidden to drink, eat or smoke in public from sunrise to sunset. The importation, possession and use of drugs, alcohol possession and pork are all punishable. Games of chance as well as card and board games are prohibited. The ban on photography is handled differently. In any case, you should ask permission from people (especially women) before filming or taking photos. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the cities of Mecca and Medina. The Koran is also punishable by death. In general, it is better not to give any criticism of Islam.

In Saudi Arabia, strict gender segregation is mandatory. With regard to the strict rules for clothing and manners, western women enjoy an exceptional status in the country. Nevertheless, it is recommended to wear an abaja (black cloak that completely covers the body and legs), which can be borrowed from the German embassy in Riyadh. As a rule, the religious police insist on the headscarf being compulsory even for non-Muslim women. Extramarital sex and adultery may be punishable by death. Homosexual acts are punished with imprisonment or lashes (only for men). The death penalty is imposed for convicted homosexual intercourse in men. Even with non-Muslims living together (including spending the night together in a room) of unmarried partners is prosecuted (usually with lashes for the man). Sexual harassment, for which there is no clear definition, is also punished, in extreme cases even the death penalty.

Saudi Arabia: climate

Saudi Arabia has a hot and dry desert climate. In the interior of the country, the temperature differences between day and night are very high. The sparse rainfall falls mostly between November and April. The hottest part of the year is between May and October.

Travel times

The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. For example, cultural travelers certainly see the climate differently than people who want to experience a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role. Therefore, our travel time recommendations are divided into the following two categories:


following months are particularly recommended for a stay in Saudi Arabia for people who are hungry for the sun, who like to enjoy a lot of sun and for whom higher temperatures do not cause any problems: November to April

For people who prefer a temperate climate

People who prefer a temperate climate and lower temperatures should do without a stay in Saudi Arabia.

Climate table

Month Average number of rainy days Mean maximum temperatures in (°C) Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)
January 12-14 at 01 -03 to -04
February 10-12 02-03 -03 to -04
March 09-11 08-09 at 0
April 09-11 13-14 04-05
May 12-14 18-19 08-09
June 11-13 22-23 11-12
July 12-14 24-25 13-14
August 11-13 22-24 13-14
September 09-11 20-21 09-10
October 12-14 12-13 05-06
November 11-12 06-07 01-02
December 12-14 01-02 -01 to -02

Sightseeing in Saudi Arabia

  • Presents the way that SA stands for the nation of Saudi Arabia as a two-letter acronym.

Cities in the country


Ad’Diriyah is located 20 km northwest of Riyadh on the banks of Wadi Hanifah. This ancient city steeped in history was once the capital of the first Saudi state. Today it offers not only old buildings and streets but also the mosque, the school and the home of Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahab.

Jeddah (Jeddah)

Jeddah on the Red Sea is particularly worth seeing. The warm and humid climate is not for everyone. The city, however, has a wonderful old town with beautiful merchant houses, most of which consist of Ottoman architecture. Many of the old buildings have recently been lovingly restored. Jeddah still offers a wide range of leisure facilities and promenades. The bay in particular is a paradise for sailors and divers. The atmosphere is friendlier and more relaxed than in Riyadh, for example.


Medina is among other things the place where the Prophet Muhammad died and is buried. His grave is in the impressive, tearfully beautiful Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (= Prophet’s Mosque), also known as Qubbat al-Nabi (= “Prophet’s Dome” or “Green Dome”). This breathtaking sacred masterpiece was built on the spot where Muhammad’s home used to be. The entire house later became part of the mosque when it was expanded under the Umayyad caliph al-Waleed ibn Abd al-Malek. The mosque built by Muhammad in 623 was also included in the Prophet’s mosque; it is the second holiest mosque in Islam. The holiest is the Al-Masjid al-Haram in Al-Makkah and the third holiest is the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Al Quds (Jerusalem). Al-Madinah also has the very first mosque of Islam, the Masjid Quba. It is considered the fourth holiest Islamic house of God.


Makkah is the holiest place of Islam thanks to the holy mosque Al-Masjid al-Haram with its seven minarets and the holy Ka’bah inside. The annual pilgrimage to Makkah is one of the cornerstones (arcane) of Islam, along with the profession of faith, giving alms, prayer (five times a day) and the celebration of the fasting month of Ramadan. Hajj is prescribed and should at least once in the life of a Muslim who is financially and physically able to do so. Islam knows two types of pilgrimages to Makkah: The main pilgrimage (Hajj) takes place during the Muslim month of Dhu al-Hijjah and brings between 2 and 3 million believers to meet in Makkah. The smaller pilgrimage, the Umrah, can be done at any time of the year.

A detailed description of the city of Mecca and its special features can be found here >>>


Ar-Riyad (Riyadh), the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a metropolis with millions of people, whose name means “The Gardens” in its German translation. About 20% of the Saudi population live here. In pre-Islamic times, the Hajar settlement was located where Riyadh today extends. This was built at the confluence of several rivers, whereby these have dried up over the centuries and are only preserved as wadis today. But at that time they provided fertile soil. The former settlement was famous for its date palms and the many orchards. The name Riyadh is a reminder of these circumstances.

A detailed description of the city of Riyadh and its special features can be found here >>>


This popular holiday resort is located a little above Makkah, on a 900 m high cliff on the edge of a plateau. The climate here is pleasant and moderate.

Special structures

Abraj Al Bait Towers in Mecca When completed,

these towers will be the largest (but not tallest) or most extensive building in the world and at 485 meters the tallest in Saudi Arabia. The location is particularly impressive. The towers are said to be opposite the entrance to the Masjid al-Haram. A large prayer hall should be located in them, in which around 4,000 believers can come together for worship. The building will also be home to a 5-star hotel, a four-story shopping center and a parking deck with space for up to 800 cars. You can also buy permanent living space here, while two small helicopter landing pads and a conference center are intended to attract business travelers.

The construction of the imposing building is already in progress and should be completed in 2009.

Al Faisaliyah Center/Al Faisalyah Complex in Riyadh

This (after the Kingdom Center) the second tallest skyscraper in all of Saudi Arabia is 276 m high. The tower was completed in 2000. The AFC was the first skyscraper built in the kingdom. It was planned by the architects Norman Foster & Partners. The golden ball on the roof of the tower is said to have been inspired by a ballpoint pen. There is a restaurant in it. A shopping center is located in the basement, where world-famous brands offer their range. The gigantic tower is part of a larger complex, the Al Faisalyah Complex, which consists of a hotel, the tower itself and two other buildings.

Al Mamlaka skyscraper in Riyadh

The skyscraper is also located in the capital. It is 302 m high.

Ministry of the Interior

This building, which is also located in Riyadh, houses the Ministry of the Interior. Its futuristic shape is reminiscent of a UFO.

Kingdom Center

This gigantic skyscraper of Riyadh was constructed between 1999 and 2002 as the main landmark of the city. With a height of 302 meters, it is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia and at the same time the largest skyscraper in the world, with less than 50 floors. The building has four separate entrances that either lead to the Four Seasons Hotel, offices, apartments, an annex to the hotel or the Al-Mamlaka shopping center (including 40 shops exclusively for women). The so-called “visitor bridge” was constructed at a height of 900 m above sea level (NN). The Kingdom Center was built in the immediate vicinity of the Al Faisaliyah Center. The construction costs amounted to around € 385 million. Whoever comes to Riyadh will be overwhelmed by this almost extraterrestrial giant with its 65 meter long steel bridge and the opening in the upper part, which has the shape of a semi-arch. The building was planned by Ellerbe Becket & Omrania. It rests on a 94,000 m² area and is framed by Orouba Street, Olaya Street and King Fahad Road. In addition to hotel, office and shopping buildings, gardens and palm-planted entrances are adjacent to the tower.

By the way, the owner of the Kingdom Center is Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a prince of the Saudi royal family.

King Fahd II Stadium in Riyadh

This multifunctional stadium is currently the most used for football matches. It was built in 1987. There is space for around 75,000 spectators here. The King Fahd II Stadium has the largest stadium roof in the world.

Qasr Al-Hukm (Justice Palace) in Riyadh

In the district of the same name is the Justice Palace, where, as already mentioned, the governor meets city dwellers, listens to their problems and makes statements about religious life. Its architecture is – like that of many other buildings in the city – an interesting mixture of traditional and contemporary construction.

Qasr al-Masmak (Al Masmak Palace) in Riyadh

This ancient fort was the residence of the ruling Al-Saud family in the 19th century, but later fell to the rival Al Rashid family. In 1902, however, Amir Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Faisal Al Saud succeeded in conquering the fortress from his exile in Kuwait. This event, which marked the re-establishment of Saudi rule in Riyadh, has almost mythical significance in Saudi Arabia. The palace now serves as a museum of state history.

Qasr al-Murabba (Al-Murabba Palace) in Riyadh

The Al-Murabba Palace (Qasr al-Murabba) is located in the north of Riyadh on Wadi Hanifah and is the seat of the royal family today. It was built by Ibn Qabba between 1936 and 1938.

Riyadh TV Tower

This 170 meter high TV tower has an observation deck. The tower was constructed between 1978 and 1981.

Towaiq Palace in Riyadh

Probably the most notable aspect of Towaiq Palace is its highly contrasting appearance. The structure is reminiscent of a fortress, a huge fort that looms in the middle of a rocky desert landscape. The high, curved walls of the reddish desert rock enclose the interior of the diplomatic club and at first glance represent a barren, albeit atmospheric solitaire in the vastness. The interior of the complex, which is filled by a large, untamed garden, is all the more surprising. Three large membrane structures connect to the outer walls of the club and break through the walls to provide niches inside that can be used for receptions, conferences and parties.

Religious places


This small mountain is about 25 km east of Mecca. His name translates as “mountain of forgiveness”. Once the progenitor Abraham (Ibrahim) is said to have been willing to sacrifice his son Ismail here and Muhammad preached his last sermon (Khutbatul Wada ‘). Mount Arafat is an important stop during the pilgrimage. One praises God Almighty and implores him with raised hands and face towards the Ka’bah. This is what the Prophet Muhammad once did.

Jabal Al Noor

translated this means the “mountain of light”. This holy place is not a Hajj station, but it has strong religious significance. On the mountain is the Her’aa grotto. Muslims believe that it was here that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad for the first time. The mountain rises near the city of Mecca


This valley near Mecca is a stop during the Islamic pilgrimage. Believers go to this place to symbolically stone the devil (Sheitan al-radshim). This devil (Iblis) is symbolically represented by stone pillars. In a modification of the Pentateuch, the Muslims believe that Abraham should one day sacrifice his son Ismail to God, not Ichchak. The devil appeared here and tried to dissuade him from this godly sacrifice. But Ismail cursed the devil and even pelted him with stones. The pilgrims remember this event in their strict submission to the words of God. During the ceremony they are wrapped in white robes. After the symbolic stoning, a sacrificial animal is slaughtered in its own name and the meat donated to the poor. Then you can cut your hair. The believers stay in Mina until sunset.


During the pilgrimage to Mecca, it is a religious honor for the faithful to drink from the water of this well, which is located in the courtyard of Al-Masjid al-Haram. Water is believed to work special miracles and cure diseases. If the legend is to be believed, then God sent Hagar (Hajar) and her son Ismail a source when both of them, after being exiled by Abraham and his wife Sarah, were close to perishing in the desert. In memory of this legend, pilgrims walk around seven times during Hajj between the two hills Marwa and Safa, where the well is located, in order to understand the search for water.

The Ka’bah – Supreme Shrine in Islam

Ka’bah (Al-ka’ba al-musharrafa)

The “honored Ka’bah” is a cube-shaped house (12 x 10 x 15 m), which is located in the middle of Al-Masjid al-Haram. Millions of Muslim believers from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the Ka’bah every year. It is this that determines the direction of prayer (qibla) in which all Muslims have to pray. This symbolizes the unity of the Islamic community (umma). The importance of the Ka’bah for Islam goes back to the fact that (according to Sura 3:96) it was the first house of God on earth for the Muslims. The first Ka’bah is said to have been built by angels, while Adam was the first person to rebuild it after being long forgotten and ruined. After the Great Mosque of Makkah was destroyed many times for various reasons, Abraham and his son Ismail rebuilt it at God’s command. While the Ka’bah was already regarded as a sanctuary for the Arabs in pre-Islamic times, it has been a purely Islamic one since 632.

The entire cube structure was made of gray-blue stone that could be found on the hills around Makkah. The four corners form the four cardinal points. The black stone (al-Hajar al-Aswad) of the Ka’bah was placed in the eastern corner (Rukn-al-Aswad) of the sacred cube. It is believed that he once fell from the sky and turned black in the face of human iniquities. It is more likely that it is a meteorite, but this is not a reliable assumption because the stone has never been scientifically investigated. In the north corner is Rukn-al-Iraqi (“The Iraqi Corner”), in the West the Rukn-al-Shami (“The Levantine Corner”) and in the South Rukn-al-Yamani (“The Jeminite Corner”) Ka’bah is covered with the Kiswat al-ka ‘ bah, a cover of adorned black brocade. It is renewed annually. The Ka’bah is walked around (tawaf) seven times counterclockwise by the believers during the pilgrimage. They praise Allah. Every day the television programs of all channels are interrupted five times for the prayers. Then you switch live to the great mosque in Makkah.

The protector of the Ka’bah is the King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin ‘Abdul-‘ Aziz Al Saud.

Important mosques

Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca

This is the largest mosque in Makkah. It completely surrounds the Ka’bah and is considered by Muslims to be the most holy place on earth. According to the Islamic faith, a house of prayer was built in heaven by angels before man was created so that they could honor Allah there. This divine house (al-Baytu l-Ma’mur) is said to be located directly above the Ka’bah. The mosque was often destroyed for various reasons. Finally, on the orders of Allah, it was rebuilt by the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) and his son Ismail, together with the Ka’bah. The mosque has always been an integral part of Arab culture. In pre-Islamic times it was also a place of pilgrimage for the once monotheistic Arabs. They adorned the Ka’bah with images of gods.

The original mosque was much smaller than the current one. In the course of the past it had been expanded several times until it finally got almost its current size under the Ottomans. Under the Saudi government and with the help of Muhammad bin Laden, the father of Osama bin Laden, the mosque was enormously expanded and the architecture modernized. Amenities such as air conditioning and elevators were also added. The exterior of this gigantic mosque is characterized by a marble facade. The Islamic church extends over three floors, with each floor able to accommodate around 1,000 pilgrims. The ZamZam fountain mentioned above is also located in the courtyard of the mosque.

The protector of the mosque is the King of Saudi Arabia.

Al-Masjid an-Nabawī (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina

The most important mosque of Al-Madinah and the second holiest mosque in Islam is the Al-Masjid an Nabawi, the “Prophet’s Mosque”. First of all, the house of Muhammad stood here. He had built it in 622. Just one year later, the Prophet Muhammad had a mosque built in Al-Madinah, and he tirelessly participated in the hard work himself. The original church became the model for all other mosques in the world. The mosque built by Muhammad was generously expanded and artfully decorated under the caliphs in the following period. But above all under the Saudi rule it experienced gigantic proportions. The last renovation took place under King Fahd, who enlarged the mosque considerably. Air-conditioning was installed and marble decorations were added.

The most important part of the Prophet’s Mosque is the Prophet’s tomb. It is located under the Qubbat al-Nabi (“Green Dome” also “Dome of the Prophet”), the center of the mosque. The two “rightly guided” caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab are also buried here. The green fence that shields the Prophet’s tomb is guarded by Wahhabi volunteers. They take care that the believers do not touch the fence. For pilgrims, this touch is a sign of honor and humility. The Wahhabis, however, see it as an act of “shirk”, or idolatry. Wahhabi volunteers also stand in front of the original Muhammad mosque. They also prevent pilgrims from touching the mosque. The current mosque is made of marble and is therefore in stark contrast to the old one, which was still made of wood. The Prophet’s Mosque also serves as an Islamic community center and has a religious school. In the heart of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi there is a very special, but also very small area that bears the name ar-Rawdah an-Nabawiyah. It extends from the tomb of the Prophet to his mosque. All pilgrims try to see ar-Rawdah and pray there, as tradition has it that prayers and requests made here are never refused. Entry to this district is not always possible, except during Hajj. This is due to the size of the area, which is so small that it can only hold a few hundred people. that prayers and requests made here are never rejected. Entry to this district is not always possible, except during Hajj. This is due to the size of the area, which is so small that it can only hold a few hundred people. that prayers and requests made here are never rejected. Entry to this district is not always possible, except during Hajj. This is due to the size of the area, which is so small that it can only hold a few hundred people.

The Prophet’s Mosque is located in the area of the city that was once the center of Al-Madinah. Many hotels have settled here and old markets. Many Muslims consider this area and the mosque to be the most peaceful and quiet place in the world.

Quba ‘Masjid (Masjid al-Quba) in Medina

This place of worship is just outside of Al-Madinah. It is considered the first mosque ever to be built and is named after the al-Masjid al-Haram (Al-Makkah), the al-Masjid an Nabawi (Al-Madinah) and the al-Masjid al-Aqsa (Al Quds) the fourth holiest mosque in Islam. The first stones are said to have been laid by the Prophet Muhammad himself when he fled from Al-Makkah to al-Madinah. It was completed by his followers. According to Islamic tradition, performing two raka’ahs of nafl prayers in the Quba’Masjid is to be equated with an umrah (= small pilgrimage). The earlier mosque has changed significantly over the course of history and was finally replaced by a newer one in 1986. In this is a rectangular prayer hall, which rests on a two-story platform.


Antiquity Museum in King Saud University/Riyadh

Historical Museum/Riyadh

State History Museum/Riyadh

This museum is located in the old Al-Masmak Fort. Museum of Saudi History/Riad In the Murabba district there is now a luxurious museum on Saudi history. It is surrounded by a park and adventure complex as well as the Riyadh water tower.

National Museum/Riad

The museum was founded as a place of education and cultural identity. On 17,000 square meters it shows documents, manuscripts, antiques and much more.

Riyadh Museum of History and Archeology/Riyadh

This museum is located in the Al-Bathaa district, in the oldest part of the city.

Opera houses and theaters

King Fahd Cultural Center/Riad

Located just outside of Riyadh, this cultural center has a planetarium, a museum, a library, a restaurant and three theaters; one of these theaters can seat 3,000 spectators. The cultural building was completed in 1999. It covers an area of 10,000 m².

Anitke sights

Gasaba Towers in the Asir Mountains

The purpose of the old, phallus-shaped structures is still unknown.

Mada’in Salih near al-Ula

The ancient rock burial site in the north of the country contains about 2000 years old Aramaic and about 4000 to 5000 years old Thamutian rock inscriptions. The landscape in this area has extraordinary rock formations created by weathering.


In the former caravan town there is now an archaeological excavation site.

Abqaiq Salt Mine

The salt mine in the east of the country has been mined for 500 years.

Timna and Shiban

The ruins of these ancient cities can still be visited.

Traditional clay architecture

This typical traditional construction can be seen on the basis of clay houses in the west of the old town of Riyadh.

Important universities in the country

Umm al-Qura University

In Makkah there are two colleges and the Umm al-Qura University, which was opened in 1979. The Umm al-Qura University is currently attended by more than 30,000 students studying in the following faculties:

  • Arabic languages
  • Engineering
  • medicine
  • pedagogy
  • pharmacy
  • Social sciences

King Saud University (English King Saud University)

The oldest university in Saudi Arabia is currently attended by about 70,000 students. It was founded in 1957 by King Saud ibn Abd al-Aziz and named after him. The then first university in Riyadh has had its current name since 1982. The university has the following faculties:

  • architecture
  • Engineering
  • art
  • medicine
  • Natural sciences
  • pedagogy
  • pharmacy
  • Political science
  • law Sciences
  • tourism
  • Dentistry

Prince Sultan University

Riyadh also has Prince Sultan University (PSU), a military academy, an Islamic university and three other universities, such as the University of Administration, Technology and Education.

natural beauties

Salam Park in Riyadh

The park is located in the Qasr Al Hokm area, parallel to the Rule Palace and on King Fahad Road. It offers different landscapes such as farmland or palm trees. In the middle of the park is a 33,000 m² lake, which has different depths and is surrounded by a 10 meter wide footpath.

Hala al-Badr

This volcano has a height of 1,570 m and is located in the province of Medina, in the north-west of the country. It belongs to the “Harrat ‘Uwayrid” volcanic field.

A number of eruptions are documented well into the Middle Ages. Recent research suggests that Moses could have received the Ten Commandments here, since the Bible speaks of a consuming fire (2nd Book of Moses, Chapter 24) or in Exodus 19/18:

“The whole of Sinai was wrapped in smoke, for the Lord had come down on him in the fire. The smoke rose from the mountain like smoke from a furnace. The whole mountain shook violently. ”

It literally says in the Bible:

That cannot be true of Mount Sinai.

Saudi Arabia: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Al-Hijr archaeological site (Madâin Sâlih) (2008)

The archaeological site of Al-Hijr is a former site of the Nabataeans, and there are well-preserved tombs over 200 years old from the 1st century BC. BC to the 1st century AD, the front views of which show valuable decorations. The graves with their inscriptions and the cave paintings provide information about the life of the Nabataeans.

Al-Hijr Archaeological Site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008

Historical area of At-Turaif in Ad-Dir’iyah (2010)

The Historic Area of At-Turaif in Ad-Dir’iyah was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010

Petroglyphs in Ha’il (2015)

In the north-west of the Ha’il province – on the edge of the Nefud desert – are the two largest rock art sites on the Arabian Peninsula. There are archaeological sites around the Jabal Umm Sanman and the Shuwaymis archaeological reserve

The capital of the Ha’il province is the oasis town of the same name with around 270,000 residents. Because of its location on the pilgrimage route between Baghdad and Mecca, it used to be of great importance. In the sandstone cliffs of Jabal Umm Sanman 490 sites with over 4,000 rock drawings were found, including images of people and animals as well as hunting scenes and inscriptions. They date from the Neolithic, the Bronze and Iron Ages and from the early Islamic period.

The oldest pictures with an age of approx. 10,000 years come from the Bedouins who lived here at the time, who lived in Jubbah when a large inland lake still existed there. In the second site – the Shuwaymis archaeological reserve, several hundred rock carvings were found depicting aurochs, gazelles, dogs, camels, leopards and horses. The Ha’il petroglyphs were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015.

Al-Ahsa (2018)

Al-Ahsa is the largest oasis in the world and is located in the east of the Arabian Peninsula. It impresses with its more than 2.5 million palm trees, a complex irrigation system as well as historical buildings and archaeological sites. According to UNESCO, Al-Ahsa is an “expression of the development of a centuries-old tradition and testifies to the settlement in the Gulf region since the Neolithic Age”.

Al-Ahsa was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018.

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