Taif

A city in The Makkah Province

Places to Visit in Taif

A city in The Makkah Province

The City of Roses

Taif is called the City of Roses for good reason. The famous fragrant flowers that grow in this city and the surrounding valleys are one of a kind. Visitors from all over the country visit Taif especially in the summer months as the temperature here is considerably more welcoming. Taif has also earned the name of ‘The Summer Capital of Saudi Arabia’ as many people prefer its milder temperature and head towards the city to escape the blistering heat of the desert. Tourists also love Taif. Even traveling on the winding mountain road that leads to Taif is an adventure in itself. 

 

In terms of population, Taif is the 6th most populous city of Saudi Arabia. It is located at an elevation of 1879 meters above sea level. The city has abundant natural beauty and is also known for the cultivation of grapes, figs, pomegranates, and honey. Taif has often been declared the best summer destination in Saudi Arabia.

 

History

Taif has seen various transfers of power throughout its history. From Thaqif tribe, to Ottoman Sultans, and Arab Kings, Taif has been passed on from one ruler to another. When the kingdom of Saudi Arabia came into being, Taif underwent a massive modernization campaign. Previously it had remained stuck in time and isolated from other regions. 

 

With access to electricity in the 1940s, Taif quickly transformed into a modern city. King Faisal inaugurated the 87 km Makkah to Taif mountain highway in 1965. This greatly helped in integrating the city with other regions. So much so that it quickly rose to become one of the top summer destinations of the country. 

 

Geography

The cities of Taif and Al Shaafa are situated at around 2000 meters above sea level. Due to their relatively cooler climate, they offer a great summer retreat for domestic as well as international tourists. Taif is surrounded by the Hejaz mountains which are part of the greater Sarawat mountains. It is a plateau region and also contains some smaller valleys in the region.

 

The highest peak of Taif is Jabal Daka. You can go for an exciting adventure by driving on the curvy roads that lead to this point. Once on top, you can soak in some grand views. There is also the option to indulge in offroad adventure.

 

Cultural Life

Taif city has primarily relied on agriculture for sustenance. Its main export in the earlier days was the fragrant roses that it is famous for. The city has a number of different natural landmarks as well as historical sites and museums.

 

Souq Okaz was not just a historically significant souk but also a complete historic theater. It was a place for different tribes and customs to come together and exchange ideas as well as do commercial activities. Keeping this in mind, the Souq Okaz cultural festival was organized under the Saudi Seasons initiative. Apart from this, Taif also hosts the Crown Prince Camel Festival and Rose Festivals.  

 

Like most other cities of Saudi Arabia, football is a popular sport in Taif. King Fahd Sports City in north Taif hosts various football tournaments and events.

 

Popular Attractions

The famed city of Roses, Taif is perched between the rocky mountains of the Makkah province. The view of the city can be enjoyed from the Taif Cable Cars (Telefric Al Hada)

 

The geographical wonder, Al Wahbah Crater is also situated near the city of Taif. This is a must-visit spot as you rarely get to experience such an exquisite natural wonder anywhere else on the planet.  

 

Qantara Mosque, also known as Masjid Madhoon is a popular site for tourists. It was built around 162 years ago during the Ottoman period. It gets its distinct, ancient look due to its inspiration from Abbasid architecture.

 

The Shubra Palace is an interesting spot to visit. It used to be a royal residence for King Abdulaziz. Now this marble-floored building has been converted into a museum and provides you a great sneak peek into the history of the region.

 

For visitors looking for an escape to nature, the impressive Saiysad National Park is a great retreat. The park also contains a kids' playground along with picnic spots around a small dam. You may also get to see some seasonal streams taking their course through nature. There is also a small zoo in Taif that can keep kids entertained for hours.