Asir

Saudi Regions

Places to Visit in The Asir Province

Saudi Regions

Spectacular Mountains and a Cooler Climate

Asir Province is located in the southwest of Saudi Arabia. The majestic city of Abha is the capital of Asir province. The province shares a common border with Yemen and also has a coastline with the Red Sea. The name Asir is in reference to the Asir tribe that inhabits the region. The province is known for its scenic mountain ranges that offer some truly breathtaking views. Due to the tough mountainous terrain, the region remained relatively isolated for quite some time. New infrastructure projects by the Saudi government have linked the province to the outside world and it has quickly caught on as a popular tourist destination.

 

One of the most attractive features of the province is its comparatively cold climate. While the rest of the country experiences the harsh desert heat, Asir enjoys milder temperatures and also receives a decent amount of rainfall. This has made it an attractive destination for tourists who are looking for an escape from the hot temperatures and want a relaxing, closer-to-nature experience. 

 

History

The mountainous region has a tough terrain. Even the word Asir translates to ‘difficult’. During the Roman Empire, the Romans showed interest in capturing the trade routes that led to Yemen. With the formation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Asir became part of the Kingdom. 

 

The village of Rijal Alma used to be an important regional trade center. It offered a natural passage for connecting Levant, Madinah, Makkah, and Yemen. This vital trade route held great historical significance. The ancient pathways along this route were built using heavy stones and were also used as a Hajj route. A few years back, the local community restored this long disused route. This great initiative effort allows tourists to experience the rich history of the province firsthand. Their efforts were recognized and the locals were awarded the Prince Sultan bin Salman Prize for Preservation of Urban Heritage.

 

Geography

Asir is situated on top of a plateau. Some of the highest peaks of the country are situated in the region. Jabal Sawdah, located near Abha, stands at an impressive 9800 feet. The province gets more rainfall than any other place in the country. Due to this reason, there is a lot of natural vegetation in the area. You will find lush green coniferous forests in Asir. The climate is also highly suitable for farming. Wheat as well as various types of fruits are grown in the region. 

 

Asir National Park is a great place to visit. It allows tourists to experience the amazing geography and natural beauty of the province. The park stretches from the mountains to the coast of the Red Sea. Both terrestrial and marine areas are included in the park. It also has the Asir escarpment as well as the Tihamah coastal plain within its boundaries.

 

Cultural Life

The tribespeople that populate Asir have a very rich history that has survived the test of time. Being isolated from other areas, the culture remained preserved for hundreds of years. A unique aspect of the local culture is the garlands of flowers that are adorned by the tribesmen. This 2000 year old tradition has been carried out for aesthetic reasons. Some even believe that the flowers have medicinal properties. Due to the importance of flowers in the culture, the flower souks in the region are full of activity and colors. Hundreds of colorful varieties of flowers are grown, prepared, and sold. In recent times, The Saudi Ministry of Culture has started hosting an annual Flowerman Festival to highlight the amazing culture of the province.

 

The people of Asir are lively and they enjoy painting their houses in rich, bright colors. Some magnificent examples of such colorfully painted houses can be found in places such as the Rijal Alma village.

 

Popular Attractions

Abha, the capital of the province contains many interesting attractions. The city itself has earned the nickname of ‘The Tourism Capital of Saudi Arabia’. Abha High City, a point located in Abha, offers panoramic views of the stunning mountains. It is a family-friendly destination that also offers tourists a range of different cafes and restaurants to choose from. The weather here is often very cold and foggy. It offers a great getaway from the crowds and hustle and bustle of Abha City. The Green Mountain in Abha is also another prominent tourist attraction of the region. Visitors can enjoy the Lebanese restaurant here and also go for a scenic ride in the cable cars.

 

The Rijal Alma Village is a must-visit spot. The traditional houses are a sight to behold. Made using the customary ingredients of clay, stone, and wood, these houses stand up to an impressive six-story tall. These giant houses are considered forts by the locals. Each has its own interesting history and it is not uncommon to find that the original families still have ownership of these houses. One of the oldest museums of the whole kingdom can be found in this village. It was established by the local people of the village forts. Other popular attractions include Al Sahab Park, Al Soudah View Point, and the Al Maqar Palace. The beautiful cascading Tanomah waterfall is also a famous attraction of the province.

 

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