Al Qarah is a beautiful mountain located in the Al Ahsa, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. It is known as the ‘Mountain of Whistling Wind’ by the locals as the wind seems to whistle when they flow through the mountain. Al Qarah mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage site showing evidence of ancient settlements in the region dating back to 5,000 BC. It has a trekking trail to the summit replete with breathtaking views of the valley below. Further, the mountain entails numerous legends of Adam, Prophet Ibrahim, and Judas. Today, the mountain is well known among tourists for its summit views, awe-capturing caves, museums, and attached history.
How to reach Al Qarah
Mount Al Qarah is located on the end of the Shadqam Plateau, which connects the Rub Al Khali Desert to the south and Iraq and Kuwait to the north. The village of Al Qarah and its mountains is 12 km to the east of Al Hofuf near the Al Ahsa National Park. The mountains are 330 km from Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. One can easily reach Al Hofuf via airplane and take a private taxi ride to the mountain from the city center.
Al Qarah Mountain timings: 8 am to 11 pm, everyday
Suggested Read: Al Ahsa Tourism: Top Attractions, Best Stays, And How To Reach
Top tourist attractions at Al Qarah mountain
1. Summit of Al Qarah
One of the favorite activities of people visiting Al Qarah is trekking to the top of the mountain. The summit ranges from 75 m to 205 m above sea level and is not a hard trek. However, the views from the summit provide exceptional views of the entire surroundings. Though the trek is relatively easy, one should remain highly careful once reaching the summit to avoid accidents. While on the trek to the top, tourists can also explore the mountains, caves, and other destinations. Tourists can get a glimpse of an expanding oasis with palm tree linings. The oasis is the major cause of early settlements in the region. The rocks at the summit reflect the shining sun creating a white aura that enhances the mystery of the mountains.
2. Judas Cave and rock formations
Owing to the formation and weathering process in the mountains, Al Qaraha has numerous caves and rock formations that can be visited by tourists. Over the years, rivers and rain have cut the limestone, giving foundation to many of the caves present in the mountain today. The caves have maintained temperature due to the inflow of cool breeze in the passageway of the mountain. The Al Nashab Cave is famous for its climate regulation, where the temperature remains reasonably constant all year round. Additionally, Al Qarah houses another popular cave known Judas cave, where Judas committed suicide for betraying Jesus Christ. It is believed that guilt overtook Jesus as he was among Jesus’s companion and betrayed him with the most famous Judas kiss.
Caves at Al Qarah are also used to hold workshops for local traditional potters. Popular caves include Bu Saleh, An Naqa, Al Eid, Al Maheub, and Al Mua’adhamah. Both tourists and locals love to visit this incredible heritage site, explore caves with tour guides, and learn about the history of the region. Tourists can indulge in birdwatching and spot the Eurasian hoopoe, bee-eaters, nightingales, and onions. Recent renovations have made the cave more accessible, including lighting and pavement. Though temperate caves protect against the sun, visitors should remember to bring sunglasses, water, and other sun protection essentials as there are few shaded spots on the mountain.
The Land of Civilizations Museum on the mountain offers an excellent overview of the region’s ancient history. The story of a local legend includes the role of the mountain in the life of the Prophet Ibrahim, King of Dilmun. The museum holds some sculpted structures related to Adam’s tale. It also contains extensive information on Al Ahsa’s agriculture and irrigation.
Timings: 8 am to 9 pm on the weekdays, and 8 am to 10 pm on weekends.
4. Concert Theater
Al Qarah mountains house an open amphitheater-like concert hall. The theater organizes various regional and international concerts to keep the guests entertained. Further, these concerts promote the region’s history and culture among the international guests. The amphitheater is well equipped with advanced technology and lighting to enhance the overall experience.
Restaurant and prayer facilities
The mountains of Al Qarah have several cafes serving delicious food from local and international cuisines. Guests visiting this mystical place can relish some of the best dishes found in the entire Saudi Arabia. Al Qarah also features a mosque for daily prayer while on the visit. One can buy souvenirs for their loved ones from the mountain at the gift shop.
The eastern part of the Al Ahsa area offers unique tourist attractions, from natural wonders to cultural heritage. One such location is Al Qarah, also known as ‘Jabal Al Qarah’ and ‘Al Shaban Mountain’. The mountains provide an insight into the past civilization and culture of the Arabian Peninsula. The limestone mountain has become the talk of the town with recent discoveries and old lores.
Al Qarah FAQs
What are the other names of the Al Qarah Mountains?
Al Qarah is also called Al Shaban Mountain and Jabal Al Qarah.
Are there any cafes near Al Qarah?
Yes, tourists can find numerous cafes near Al Qarah.
What is the cost of tickets to the museum?
The cost of an entry ticket is SR 50.
How far is Al Qarah from Riyadh?
Al Qarah is 330 km from Riyadh.
Which is the most popular cave in the Al Qarah?
Judas Cave is a famous cave housed in Al Qarah.