Ha'il

Saudi Regions

Places to Visit in The Hail Province

Saudi Regions

Where nature and history collide

The province of Hail (Ha'il) is located in the north of Saudi Arabia. Its central-northern location makes it a gateway for travelers coming into the region from the north as well as those going from the east to the west. The province is named after its largest city and capital Hail city. The province has a history dating back to prehistoric times. It contains two important UNESCO World Heritage sites of Jubba and Shuwaymis. 

 

Ha’il has some of the best landscapes that nature has to offer. The magnificent sandstone mountains shaped by centuries of erosion appear in remarkable natural forms. The white volcanoes of Harrat Bani Rashid are a matchless masterpiece of the region. Ha’il province also has the remarkable Shammar mountains. The Aja mountains and the Salma mountains are subranges of the Shammar. Jabal Aja is a protected area due to its important and rare flora and fauna.  

 

History

Archeological sites dating back to 10000 BC to 75000 BC have been found in the province. Historians believe that the region has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic period. Sites with rock art and other artifacts from that time have been found all over the province. One of the most fascinating places is Shuwaymis. This site has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. It contains ​​petroglyphs that depict various hunting parties. Animals such as lions, horses, ibex, and camels are shown in these extraordinary carvings. Jubbah is another similar UNESCO World Heritage site that is located about 90 km north of the city of Ha’il. The carvings found on ​​Jibal Umm Sinman date back at least 10,000 years. 

 

This was a time before the desertification of the region. Lakes and rivers flowed here and the climate was more humid. The carvings show that the Arabian peninsula has always been an important gateway for human movement from the cradle of civilization in Africa to other continents. Even the Thamudic and Nabatean scripts that have been identified on the rocks of Rata and Al-Manjoor show that travelers were passing by Shuwaymis even in the post desertification period of the region.

 

Just recently, in May 2021, one of the world's oldest Acheulean sites was discovered in the northern region of Ha’il. This site dates back 350,000 years. Around 354 artifacts were recovered from the site called Al Nasim. Evidence was also found that indicated the presence of freshwater lakes and rivers at that time. The similarity between the Acheulean discoveries in Al Nasim and that of the Nefud Desert shows that the paleolakes of this area were used as a major corridor for human travel and commerce. Even during the Islamic period, the province played its role as an indispensable part of the Zubaydah Hajj Route.

 

Geography

The geography of Ha’il is simply majestic. This is the province where you will find a variety of different landscapes, each having its own special characteristics. Here you can witness the stunning white volcano fields of Harrat Bani Rashid. Then we have the magnificent Shammar mountains with the subranges of Aja and Salma. The flora and fauna of this region are truly unique. Not only this, but the province also has Nefud Al-Kebir, The Great Sand Dune Desert. A vast stretch of sandy desert that has held the reputation of being an impassable and inhospitable desert.

 

On the other hand, Hail province also has fertile soil and an abundant amount of groundwater that makes it perfect for agriculture. The city of Ha’il is known for producing dates, cereals, and fruits.

 

Popular Attractions

Hail City, the capital of the province is a major tourist attraction. The city where the famous ​​Hatim al-Tai lived contains many sites worth exploring like the three castles, namely Barzan Castle, Al-Qishlah Castle, and the A'arif Fort. The nearby city oasis city of Fayd is another place worth visiting. It used to be a significant stop along the Zubaydah Hajj Route. This fortified oasis city gave pilgrims much-needed water, food, and shelter. The Fayd museum is full of relics from the rich history of the city. 

 

Nefud Al-Kebir, The Great Sand Dune Desert is a vast sandy desert that carries traces of ancient human history. The 85,000-year-old fossilized human finger bone found in Nefud Al-Kebir is the oldest fossil of Homo Sapien outside of Africa and the Levant region. You can also visit Jubba and Shuwaymis to witness the awe-inspiring ​​petroglyphs. The white volcanoes of Harrat Khaybar may be tough to access due to the difficult terrain but the extremely unique landscape that it offers is truly like no other place on earth.

 

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