Najran

Saudi Regions

Places to Visit in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Regions

Connecting civilizations

Najran province is situated between two totally opposite geographical lands. While most of the central area is located on a plain, there is the lush green Asir Province with the Sarawat mountains on one side and the vast emptiness of the arid Rub' Al-Khali on the other. The city of Najran is the capital of the Najran province and has a rapidly growing population. Throughout the course of history, Najran has played a vital role in connecting the northern and western regions of Arabia with Yemen. The agricultural practice in the region is being carried on for over 4000 years.

 

Due to the location of Najran, it became a hotbed of the caravan trade in frankincense and the luxury product myrrh. It connected the ancient civilization of Yemen, to the Fertile Crescent, Mediterranean, and Asian countries.

 

History

As a major center of the caravan trade route, the province of Najran has played an active role in trade for thousands of years. We can get an idea of the history of the region through the various inscriptions and artifacts found in the region. The popular site of Bir Hima, located in the Jebel Qarah has some preserved inscriptions carved in the Sabean script. This site is located approximately 100 km north of Najran. 

 

Najran has also housed ancient settlements of Christians and Jews. During the Islamic period, the Christians signed the Najran pact with the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in the 7th century. With this pact, they got a protected status (dhimmi) in the new Muslim territories. Najran also used to be the Yemeni center of cloth making. The Kiswah (cloth of the Holy Ka’aba used to be made in this area known for its garment industry.

 

Geography

The Wadi Najran is at the center of the lush green Sarawat mountains and the sandy Rub' Al-Khali. This forms a natural link from the fertile areas to the arid, sandy desert. When it rains, the tributaries of the Sarawat join together to form actual flowing rivers in the valley.

 

The sixth UNESCO World Heritage site of the country is the splendid rock art complex of Hima. It is located in the southwest of the province and is regarded as one of the largest rock art complexes in the world. Hima contains over 34 different sites that include inscriptions on rocks and water wells. These wells are dated to be over 3000 years old are were a core source of water for the Najran desert region. They used to serve the ancient caravan routes for trade and pilgrimage and surprisingly some of these wells even continue to provide fresh water even today. The total area of this site is 557 square km and the various inscriptions from the pre and post-historic periods indicate various aspects of the time like the wildlife, plants, animals, tools, symbols, hunting and gathering, and trade.

 

Culture

Najran has a unique culture that has been influenced by the civilizations of Yemen. Folk arts of the region include traditional clay techniques used to build houses. The culture is known for having different dances like the Al Zamil and Al Razffah. Al Zamil focuses on the poetry and delivery of the words as well as the well-choreographed dance routine. It may be used to express emotions on different occasions and to seek an apology. Meanwhile, Al Razffah is mostly for happy and festive occasions like weddings. The dances are performed by men holding the traditional daggers in their hands.

 

The cuisine of Najran is exquisite and unique. Some of the traditional dishes include 

 

Al Burr, Al Maasooba, Al Margoog, Al Wafed, and Al Ruksh. Most of these dishes are prepared using bread, wheat, milk, honey, dates, and sometimes also include soup and vegetables.

 

Popular Attractions

The city of Najran is an oasis city located in the south of Saudi Arabia near the border of Yemen. It is the capital of Najran province and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. It is one of the main attractions of the province. Within the city, you will find various sites like the Emarah Palace. This palace was built in 1944 after the province became a part of the Kingdom. The site was known for an ancient well before this. With its abundant area of 625 square meters and 65 rooms, the palace not only housed the governor and his staff but also the police and postal services. Emarah Palace is now open to the public and also contains a museum that tells visitors about the history of the place. 

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Najran Valley Dam is a gorgeous arch dam located about 15 km to the southwest of Najran city. It serves the important functions of water storage, groundwater recharge, and flood control. Being one of the largest dams in Saudi Arabia, it is a good spot for sightseeing. 

 

Perched on top of the Al Aan mountain, the Al-Aan Palace is an archeological masterpiece of the Najran province. This mud palace was built in 1688 and overlooks the Wadi Najran. It consists of four storeys and gives an amazing view of the surrounding regions and mountains. Other major attractions of the province include the Abu As-Su’ud traditional village, Al Ukhdood Archaeological Site, As-Safa park, and the Ra'um Castle.

 

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