The History of Al Ula
Al Ula's history dates back to the 6th century BCE when the walled city was first founded. It was considered ideal for a new township because of its perfect oasis location in the valley desert, making it one of the few areas with fertile land and ample water supply. Al Ula was built along what was then referred to as the "Incense Road," which was essentially a trade network for spices and silk throughout the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, and the Indian subcontinent.
The area was once the site of the historic city of Dedan, but the Lihyan North Arabian kingdom built the city as we know it and presided over it for the next 400 years. In 100 BCE, the Nabateans took control of the region and made Hegra 22km north of Al Ula, the region's center. The region's center would also shift to Al-Mabiyat, 20 km from Al-Ula, and would stay that way until 1230 CE. After the 13th century, builders used the old stones from the Dadanite and Lihyanite ruins again. Al-Ula proper once again became the main center of trade and civilization in the area up to the 20th and 21st centuries.