Mada'in Saleh

3:08:00 PM Unknown 5 Comments

Mada'in Saleh is home to the second largest Nabatean archaeological site. All that remain are the evocative rock cut tombs that dot the surrounding sandstone hills and outcroppings. The dry desert and local legend of the area as being cursed have been the perfect preservative for these unique structures which while completely empty, still beg to be explored. 

Archaeologists have determined that the tombs were carved from top to bottom, as evidenced by some which are unfinished. Influenced by the Phoenicians and later the Roman, the tombs are all very similar in style and decoration. 
We visited the area as part of a tour group, but one could easily see the site on your own, as a matter of fact, you'd have more time and could explore at a more leisurely pace. Saudi Arabia is slowly developing sites for tourism and Mada'in Saleh is their first Unesco site. 

This area reminded me of a sort of Valley of the Kings. 

If you look closely, the top of this butte is covered with graves cut directly into the rock. Those who couldn't afford an elaborate tomb were buried up here. I would love to see what else archaeologists could uncover in the surrounding fields, but we'll have to wait a while for that.


  1. My goodness these are pretty cool. Where is this?

    1. Western Saudi Arabia, about two hours north of Medina.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. These are absolutely amazing and what an experience to visit!