Madain Saleh – Deden – Elephant rock
Today we will do 2 guided tours, then end the tour with visiting the elephant rock to relax.
Tour 1: Hegra tour ( the tomb ) and Hejaz Railway
The importance of Hegra, also known as Madain Saleh, is ostensibly displayed by its 111 monumental tombs, among which 94 were decorated with majestic facades on the sandstone massifs of the area, especially the Jibal Ithlib. The smallest tomb is barely 2,7 meters tall but the biggest reaches an impressive 21,5 meters! Madain Saleh was the second largest city of the Nabatean kingdom whose capital was Petra (in today’s Jordan) where the Nabatean people created more than 600 tombs.
Afterwards we will visit the Hejaz Railway. In the early 19th century CE the Ottomans built a railway station at Madain Saleh that was along the Hejaz Railway linking Damascus to the holy city of Makkah. You will have the chance to see the triclinium (or diwan in Arabic) that were once dedicated to banquets and rituals. They are composed of three benches where people used to sit while musicians were playing. At least six of them were found in Madain Saleh with the names of their owners.
Tour 2 : Dedan is also of great interest, not only for the extent of the remains of this ancient oasis city , but also because its history is much older than the neighboring Madain Saleh. The most famous oasis of the 1st millennium BCE is the oasis of Dedan, where excavations on extensive archeological sites have revealed the existence of large fortified cities. These kingdoms developed their own culture including a specific language and alphabet, that resulted in a mix of Arabian traditions and strong influences from the surrounding empires.
Before we head to our last stop, we will pass by the Elephant Rock, also known as Jabal AlFil, one of Al Ula’s many geological marvels. This is a seating area with nice coffee to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Please note that Hegra and Dedan/Ikma mountain are guided tours by Bus and last each 2 to 3 hours max.