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Jabal Ikmah: A Mountain With Ancient Inscriptions And Rock Arts


Jabal Ikmah, located five kilometers north of Al-Ula, is popular for fantastic rock formations and excellent surroundings. However, the hundreds of old writings etched on the rocks along one of Jabal Ikmah’s crevasses are what truly set it apart. Jabal Ikmah has a large number of engravings, earning it the moniker “Open Library”. In the sixth century B.C., the adjacent city of Dadan served as a significant regional hub, drawing intellectuals, and businesses from all over the world. As a result, the earliest inscriptions in Jabal Ikmah are believed to have been written around 644 B.C.

About Jabal Ikmah, Al Ula

Thousands of inscriptions in Aramaic, Dadanitic, Thamudic, Minaic, and Nabataean may be found around the AlUla Valley. AlUla is an important location for Arabic lovers because of the numerous pre-Arabic inscriptions that can be found in the city. AlAqra’a, a mountain to the north of the AlUla Valley, is home to more than 450 ancient Arabic inscriptions. One of the earliest Islamic inscriptions may be found at Naqsh Zuhayr, to the east, and it dates to 24AH (644 CE). But none of these locations is more noteworthy than Jabal Ikmah, which is where Al Ula has the most significant number and variety of inscriptions. The largest “open library” in Saudi Arabia has nestled away in a lonely canyon valley amid a stunning desert setting.

Jabal Ikmah was frequently visited by individuals seeking to leave their inscriptions and offerings when traveling through AlUla. In addition, Dadan was a caravan way-stop for numerous people. The hundreds of carvings and inscriptions adorned the cliff faces and rocks here served as records, ensuring that Jabal Ikmah would be remembered for centuries.

History of Jabal Ikmah


A trip to this wonderful site is a window into the past because of the stunning inscriptions, some of which are considered as old as the first millennium BCE. The site offers a peep into people’s everyday lives who lived in the Dadanite, Lihyanite, and other civilizations of AlUla. It has numerous rock art depicting people, musical instruments, and animals.

Things to do at Jabal Ikmah


1. Explore the remains

Take a fascinating, educational, and cultural journey to learn about the ancient kingdoms of the Lihyanite and Dadanite civilizations. Tourists can explore the remnants of the Al-Ula civilization and learn about its history from knowledgeable and experienced tour guides who will help out the visitor the entire time. They will get the opportunity to wander across Jabal Ikmah mountain close to the historic city of Dadan which is known as a vast open library.

2. Take a tour of the library

Tourists can learn about the Lihyan kingdom’s contribution to the region’s economy in the northwest of the Arabian Peninsula by exploring them. On this tour, they can see the open library and take in the views of the rugged highlands.

Regarding a visit to Jabal Ikmah

Time spent on activity: 5 hours (approx.)

Hours of operation: 10 am to 6 pm

Last admission: 5 pm

How to reach & location


Winter Park is 17.2 kilometers from Al Ula downtown and is 21 minutes drive from the central city hub of Al-Ula. From there, one can take a taxi or any other kind of public transit to go to Winter Park. Tourists will first arrive in Winter Park, where they are required to reach around 25 minutes before the event is scheduled to begin. Then they will board a spacious shuttle van and travel to Dadan and Jabal Ikmah, two important historical sites.

Suggested Read: Mountains In Saudi Arabia Are Home To Historical Peaks And Charming Vistas

Highlights of Jabal Ikmah

  • Take a shuttle bus to the heritage sites in Al-Dadan Ula’s and Jabal Ikmah to discover their unspoiled regions.
  • On this journey, take in the expansive panorama of the granite mountains.
  • Through the guidance of a tour guide, explore the Lihyan kingdom and learn about their history and culture.
  • Visit the Lion’s Tombs Necropolis, one of the site’s most notable attractions.

Know before you go

  • The only way to arrange excursions to Jabal Ikmah is through the information desk at Al-Ula Winter Park.
  • All foreign nationals must provide information on their passports and visas at the time of booking and again upon arrival.
  • Adherence to the state government’s guidelines in each case is necessary.
  • Each individual visitor must present I.D. verification at the time of reservation and again upon arrival.
  • When making a reservation, confirmation will be sent on mobile phones.
  • Under no circumstances should men be seen without shirts.
  • Men must be careful not to wear shorts, sleeveless shirts, or slim pants in public.
  • Women should not wear anything that is improper to wear in public, such as nightwear, short dresses and so on.
  • Ages 0 to 4 are admitted free of charge.
  • Ages 5 to 12 will incur an additional fee.

Jabal Ikmah is popular for ancient texts, and illustrations of people, animals, and commonplace objects at Jabal Ikmah. Typically, stylized depictions of people show them engaged in an activity like farming, herding, or hunting. Additionally, a variety of tools, such as musical instruments and agricultural and hunting equipment, can be identified in the carvings. Rock inscriptions are common in this region and may also be discovered in Mabrak al-Naqah, Naqsh Zuhayr, and Umm Daraj.

Suggested Read: 8 Popular Places To Visit In Al Ula, A Global Cultural Hub In The KSA

Jabal Ikmah FAQs

Why is Jabal Ikmah called the open library?

Jabal Ikmah has a large number of engravings, earning it the name Open Library, however, it is unclear why so many ancient individuals chose to leave their marks here.

When is Jabal Ikmah open?

It is open on weekends from 4 pm to 6 pm and weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm.

What is the location of Jabal Ikmah?

The rock formations are around the mountain five kilometers north of Al-Ula. The address of is 375, AlUla 43532, Saudi Arabia.

Are there any clothing restrictions for men and women at Jabal Ikmah?

Yes, there are. Men must be careful not to wear shorts, sleeveless shirts, or slim pants in public. Likewise, avoid wearing anything that is improper to wear in public, such as nightwear and so on. Women are prohibited from wearing short bottoms, sleeveless tops, short dresses, loose tops, crop tops, and miniskirts.

Pratyush Srivastava

I think, every human is a beautifully concealed epoch in the making with God to unravel it at the perfect time. Hence, synergizing with distinctive individuals in search of an interesting story is my favorite work as a writer and creator.

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