From origination of Islam to serving as battleground for remarkable battles, Saudi Arabia is home to many historical sites of past. Historical places in Saudi Arabia preserve the kingdom’s history from ancient ruins to modern treaties. The kingdom has some of the oldest rock inscriptions in UNESCO World Heritage Sites and also the remnants of monumental fortresses and palaces. Tourists visiting these popular destinations can learn a lot about the Saudi’s past and Islam as a religion. The historical places of Saudi Arabia also house pre-Islamic relics and sculptures speaking vividly about the civilization of Arabian Peninsula.
List of historical places in Saudi Arabia
1. Jubbah Hail – Archaeological rock inscriptions
Jubbah in Hail lies on a historic caravan route in the Nafud Desert towards northeast Saudi Arabia. It is one of largest and most important ancient monuments in Saudi Arabia featuring rock inscriptions and sculptures from the Mesolithic period. The place has several rock sculptures including men in headgear, birds, monkeys, gazelles, and two animals hauling a wheeled cart. It is a stunning desert location visited by millions of tourists from all over the globe every year. Additionally, the location has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015.
How to reach: Jubbah is 90 km from Hail near the old caravan road between Mediterranean Sea and Najd.
Things to do:
- Explore the most influential rock art sites, dating back at least 7000 to 9000 years.
- Visit the Al Nafud Desert, which is made of stunning red dunes.
Best time to visit: Tourists can visit Jubbah in Hail during the Spring season between 9 AM to 1 PM.
2. Madain Salih – Saudi’s first UNESCO Site
Among the most famous places in Saudi Arabia the archaeological site of Al-Hijr (Madâin Sâlih) in Saudi Arabia is the Kingdom’s first World Heritage site. Initially known as Hegra, it is the most well-preserved site of the Nabataean civilization south of Petra in Jordan. It has massive tombs with ornate facades from the first century BC to the first century AD. There are over 50 pre-Nabataean inscriptions on the site and numerous cave art. Al-Hijr is a one-of-a-kind testament to Nabataean civilization. Madâin Sâlih is an exceptional example of the Nabataeans’ architectural skill and hydraulic expertise, with 111 massive tombs, 94 of which are adorned, and water wells.
How to reach: Tourists visiting Al Ula can take a private taxi or board a tour bus to reach one of top ancient sites in Saudi Arabia, Madâin Sâlih.
Things to do:
- Explore the rock inscriptions and cave art from the pre-Nabataean period.
Best time to visit: Tourists can visit Madâin Sâlih between September to March from 9 AM – 1 PM.
3. Mount Uhud – Battleground for important Islamic war
Among the several initial battles of Islam, Battle of Uhud carries immense significance in the lives of Muslims. The mountain served as the battlefield for the conflict between Muslims and Arab pagans and is among important Islamic historical places in Saudi Arabia. Tourists visit Mount Uhud to experience the region’s spiritual and visual magnificence. Mount Uhud has transformed rapidly over the years to boost tourism due to the constant growth in pilgrims and tourists visiting the region.
How to reach: Mount Uhud is only 13 km from Madinah city center and can easily be reached by private taxi.
Things to do:
- Mount Uhud is a fantastic trekking destination. Because of the area’s geology, the mountain includes rocky terrain with various difficult hiking paths. The track may be followed to see the traces of the epic conflict.
- The Battle of Uhud claimed the lives of over 85 warriors from Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) army. The Martyrs’ Cemetery in Mount Uhud has the graves of these warriors. People pay their respects to the Muslim Martyrs at the cemetery for their sacrifice.
Best time to visit: Pilgrims and tourists can visit Mount Uhud between November and March between 9 AM and 1 PM for comfortable tour.
4. Ushaiqer Heritage Village – Wooden and mud houses
Ushaiqer Heritage Village, located amid the Najd, an oasis-dotted region, offers a glimpse into the slow-paced Saudi life from the past. The location was home to Bedouins around 1,500 years ago. Due to its springs and low-brimmed olive and palm orchards, Ushaiqer rapidly became a favorite halting site for travelers on route to Makkah. Walking along its winding streets is like entering a live museum, replete with artifacts from a bygone era. Ushaiqer is a maze of winding alleyways, and timber-framed walkways that weave amid hundreds of mud dwellings encased in thick walls. The community is separated into districts and is bisected by palm groves, with a cluster of rebuilt residences in the middle. With their characteristic triangular windows and roofs, and ornately carved wooden doors, these houses in the village are a spectacular example of Najdi architecture.
How to reach: The Heritage village is situated only 17 km from Shaqra, a small city in Riyadh Province.
Things to do:
- Explore the small alleyways and covered passageways of the Ushaiqer Heritage Village to see the intricate constructions that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
Best time to visit: For a convenient tour, tourists can visit Ushaiqer Heritage Village between 9 AM – 1 PM in November to March.
5. Hejaz Railway Museum – Remains of Ottoman railways
The Hejaz Railway Museum showcases a section of the Ottoman railway network that previously stretched through western Saudi Arabia’s Hejaz. In the Museum, visitors can learn about the significance of railway transportation in Islam and see remnants of Al Ula Station, such as original tracks and trains. The Hejaz Railway was a massive project proposed by the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century. The line was intended to make pilgrimages to Madinah simpler for Muslims in remote areas. Still, it was shut down and never reopened due to its high operating costs and construction issues that arose at the outbreak of World War I.
Address: Omar Ibn Alkhtab Rd, Al Suqya, Madinah.
Things to do:
- At this museum, one can see abandoned locomotives, old railway lines, and offices.
- Admire the vast collections of freight cars, papers, pictures, rusting engines, and train cabins.
- Observe stations, offices, and other aspects of vast railway lines to understand the art of train management better.
Famous landmarks in Saudi Arabia
6. Murabba Palace – King Abdul Aziz court
The Murabba Palace, also known as Qasr al Murabba in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is a historically significant monument. It was the home and court of King Abdul Aziz and is among the top landmarks of Saudi Arabia. Now, the palace serves as a symbol to remind about the city’s illustrious history. The palace’s construction began in 1936 and finished in 1945. Murabba Palace is a 9800-meter-long structure with typical Najdi architecture. The walls, ceilings, and chambers are entirely made of piled palm fronds and are arranged around a stunning central courtyard. The most crucial archive collections in Riyadh are housed in Murabba Palace, many of which are available to the public.
How to reach: Located on King Saud Rd, Murabba Palace is 13 km from Riyadh’s city center.
Things to do:
- Learn about Saudi Arabia’s royal family and their history.
Timings: Friday to Saturday: 5 PM – 8 PM, Sunday: 9 AM – 12 PM
7. Ibrahim Palace – Historic museum and a mosque
Built in 1555, Ibrahim Palace was eventually expanded into a fortress and became one of many famous buildings in Saudi Arabia. The Quba Mosque, located in the heart of the palace, is visited by thousands of pilgrims seeking Allah’s blessings. It covers an area of 16,500 square meters and is built in Islamic style with a military fabrication. The palace’s semicircular arches and structural elements are a great example of Islamic architecture.
Address: King Khalid Rd, Al Rafaa North, Al Hofuf.
Things to do:
- Explore the charm of the historical palace, the on-site mosque and the museum.
8. Masmak Fortress – Weapon storage and city’s defense facility
The Masmak Fortress, located in the center of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is an important historical site in Saudi Arabia and a testament to the country’s rich past. The Masmak Palace was constructed in 1865 by King Abdullah III bin Faisal al-Saud to act as an inner defense for the city during the al-Saud-al-Rashid feud. It operated as a military fort and a weapons storage facility. Later, it served as a patrimonial emblem of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s creation and rebuilt to serve as a museum.
Address: Qasr al-Masmak, Al Imam Turki ibn Abdullah ibn Muhammad, Dirah, Riyadh
Things to do:
- Enjoy the museum’s exhibit of Saudi Arabia maps and photos from 1912 to 1937, open to the general public and guests.
- With audiovisual presentations and various delicate historical objects and art pieces, one may learn about the area’s past.
- Visitors may watch a brief video on King Abdulaziz’s seizure of the citadel back in the day, which led to Saudi Arabia’s unity.
- Tourists can purchase spices, cashmere scarves, and skillfully produced handicrafts in the fortress’s courtyard.
Timings: Saturday: 9:00 AM to 7:30 PM, Friday: 4:00 PM to 7:30 AM, Thursday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Sunday-Wednesday: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM
9. Jawatha Mosque – 1400 years old relics
The Jawatha Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province dates from Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) time. It is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important historical, cultural, and spiritual sites. Only a few remnants of the original edifice remain in the present time, but people still use it for prayers. The mosque has a beautiful Islamic architecture adding to the Saudi Arabian heritage.
How to reach: The mosque is about 5 kilometers north of Al-Kilabiyah and 20 kilometers northeast of Hofuf, Al-Ahsa.
Things to do:
- Visit the Jawatha Mosque and appreciate the ruins dating 1400 years ago.
Timings: Wednesday: 2 PM –4 AM, Thursday to Saturday: 2 PM – 4 PM, Sunday to Tuesday: 2 PM – 4 AM
Tickets: Entry fees for Jawatha Mosque are only 10 SAR.
10. Nasseef House – Arabic buildings and calligraphy
Nasseef House is a popular tourist attraction and one of Saudi Arabia’s historical sites. After King Abdul Aziz seized the city in 1925, the renovated coral house in the old Al-Balad area became his royal home. The house has ramps to allow camels to travel up to the upper terrace. Nasseef House is now a cultural center that hosts exhibitions, international seminars, and a range of other activities for visitors.
Address: Al Dhahab, Al-Balad, Jeddah
Things to do:
- Visitors can take their time studying the intricate features of the Ottoman Turkish-inspired building and the magnificent instances of Arab calligraphy.
Timings: Monday to Saturday, 8 AM – 11:55 PM and Sunday, 8am –12pm, 6pm –12am
As the Kingdom implements Vision 2030, the tourist sector opens new ways for visitors to see the Saudi Arabia points of interest like never before. Historical places in Saudi Arabia preserves the country’s, community’s, or people’s cultural, social, political, and military past. From rock inscriptions of the pre-Nabataean Period to the 20th-century railway network, Saudi Arabia has got it all.
Historical Places In Saudi Arabia FAQs
Why is Jubbah popular?
Jubbah is famous for housing more than 7000 years old rock inscriptions.
How far is Mount Uhud from Madinah?
Mount Uhud is only 13 km from the city center of Madinah.
What are ancient monuments in Saudi Arabia?
Madain Salih is among the most popular ancient monument in Saudi Arabia.
What are famous buildings in Saudi Arabia?
Murabba Palace, Ibrahim Palace, and Masmak Fortress are among famous buildings in Saudi Arabia.
Which is the oldest archeological site in Saudi Arabia?
Hegra is the oldest archeological site in Saudi Arabia.