City of the three castles
Ha’il, the capital and largest city of the Ha’il province is a largely agricultural city that is located in the center of the northern part of Saudi Arabia. As an oasis city with plentiful water wells, Ha’il has held great significance as a stop for ancient caravan trade routes. It also catered to pilgrims. The people of Ha’il are known for their generosity and not surprisingly it is also the home of the legendary poet and king Hatem al-Tai, the epitome of altruism and generosity. The legend of Hatem is also mentioned in the ‘Arabian Nights’. His grave is located in Towaren, Ha’il.
Ha’il is known for three major castles. The A'arif Fort is a 200-year-old mud castle located on a hill that overlooks the city. It is one of the main attractions of the city and offers a great viewpoint. The Barzan Palace was a huge palace that spanned over 300,000 square meters. Its construction was started in 1808 and was completed under the reign of the second Rashidi emir, Talal ibn Abdullah. It consisted of three floors that included reception halls, gardens, kitchens, places for diplomatic guests, and the royal family. The third major fort is Qishlah Fortress that is located in the center of the city, it was constructed during the 1940s when prince Abdul-Aziz bin Musa'ad Al Saud held office in Ha'il province. The mud palace consists of two floors with walls over 8.5 meters.