Visiting Saudi for the first time? here are the best places to explore its history
For first time visitors to Saudi, the country offers an abundance of beauty to explore in diverse land and seascapes, culture and heritage, and brilliant history. Since 2019, the Kingdom has become more accessible than ever to international visitors with Vision2030 turning its focus towards tourism among other industries. The introduction of the tourist e-visa made the process a lot easier as it gets issued within minutes of applying and is available to applicants from 49 countries.
With the country’s vast terrain and it being the 12th biggest in the world by land size, its climate differs at its different corners. From soaring green mountains, forests and sand dunes to coral reefs under glittering blue water, it offers a wide variety of experiences to suit all tastes. Let’s discuss a few significant spots that tell poignant tales of the Kingdom’s rich history.
Luxury destinations in Saudi attract loads of visitors year-round, with the top spot being AlUla. An oasis dubbed an open-air museum, bursting with history and intriguing tales from times gone by. The site is an ancient trade route linking civilizations all around the region from the Mediterranean and Arabian Peninsula to Asia and more. High-end accommodations in the area include pool villas and premium rooms overlooking a stunning backdrop of natural rock formations and clear sky. Awaiting visitors is a lot to explore, such as Old Town, Hegra, and the annual AlUla Moments festival. It is easily accessible through the AlUla International Airport (ULH) only a 30-minute drive from the city’s center.
In the capital city of Riyadh are some of the Kingdom’s most significant historic sites, such as Diriyah town located just 15 mins from the city. Site of the first Saudi state and was named the country’s first capital in 1727. It has witnessed renovations and development to preserve the rich heritage of Saudi within it as part of Diriyah Gate project.
Many sites in the Kingdom showcase its history with the Ottoman Empire, such as the Istasyōn railway station and museum in Medina which linked the city to Istanbul, the Hanging Village of Al Habala in Asir which was once only reachable by rope ladder as its inhabitants chose this remote location to settle and escape the Ottomans. Another site is the Ottoman fortress rising on the stunning Farasan Island, a relic from the time of Ottoman presence on the island in the early 20th century when it was used as a military base. It includes a balcony, well, yard and a few rooms. Visitors can admire it from outside as entry is not currently allowed, but it’s a great opportunity to see the area during a visit to the islands.
Saudi Arabia is home to six UNESCO World Heritage Sites which are Hegra in AlUla, At Turaif in Diriyah, Historic Jeddah, Rock Art in Hail, Al Ahsa Oasis, and most recently Ḥimā Cultural Area, inscribed in 2021. A trip to explore these sites is perfect for lovers of history and a great opportunity to learn more about the Kingdom’s cultural heritage and influences.
Get to know Saudi’s culture and heritage up close by visiting the magnificent sites that tell its story! Sana Tourism sets up your trip from A to Z so you don’t have to worry about planning or missing any of the cool spots. Contact us now to start.