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A search engine about the conservation of cultural heritage

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  Heritage Sites in Saudi Arabia

Registered and nominated for registration in the UNESCO World Heritage List

Saudi commission for Tourism and Antiquities
Rabi I 1430 – March 2009

An accord supporting the registration of MADA’IN SALIH, Historic AD-DIR’IYAH, and Historic JEDDAH in UNESCO’s World Heritage List (WHL). The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has worked on registering these sites. MADA’IN SALIH was registered in the WHL in 2008 (1429 Hijri). The SCTA submitted the AT-TURAIF registration file for Historic AD-DIR’IYAH in 2009 (1430 Hijri). Currently, the SCTA is working on completing the registration file for Historic JEDDAH in order to present it at the start of 2010 (1431 Hijri). The following is a brief description of these sites:


Al-Hijr lies in northwest Saudi Arabia, between the cities of Medina and Tabuk, 22 kilometres north of the city of al-Ula. Remains of human occupation in the region go back to ancient times. The area has been a significant focus of human settlement over a long period, due to the abundance of factors supporting an early shift to a sedentary way of life. These include fertile land, the presence of sources of water and a strategic position with respect to the great centres of civilization in the ancient Near East. Prehistoric remains have been recorded at the top of some of the mountains which surround the site of Mada’in Salih.

Moreover, many rock faces in the area are covered with petroglyphs, some of which are prehistoric.


AD-DIR’IYAH is one of the Oases of WADI HANIFA, which refers to the name of the tribe to which the Royal Family of AL SAUD is related. Oases have been a focus of human settlement since the earliest of times.

Rich scenic natural features such as gullies, gorges and fertile areas of pasture distinguish AD-DIR’IYAH. This demonstrates the underlying relationship between material expressions of human culture expressed through settlement design and architecture and environmental features. Here the dwellings are set on the banks of the wadi, and branching in between its curves are irrigation systems, natural channels and tunnels that feed the agricultural villages which enrich the geographical surroundings of AD-DIR’IYAH into a rural idyll.


Historic JEDDAH is situated in the centre of the modern city of JEDDAH. Some sources indicate that its history dates back to the pre-Islamic era. A turning point in its history was in the days of the Muslim Caliph OTHMAN BIN AFFAN when he made it the port city for MAKKAH ALMUKARAMA in 605 AD (26 Hijri).

Historic JEDDAH includes a number of monuments, historic and cultural buildings, such as the remnants of the old boundary wall, and the old quarters: ALMAZLOOM, ASHAM, ALYAMAN, and ALBAHR. It also contains a number of Historic Mosques, the most notable of which are: OTHMAN BIN AFFAN, ASHAFIEY, ALBASHA, UKASH, ALMIEMAR, and ALHANAFI DJAMEA). There are old Souqs, such as: ANNADA, ALKHASKIYAH, ALALAWI, ASSAGHA, in addition to a large number of existing Cultural buildings that are still used.