Humanosity says…Saudi Arabia wants to develop a tourism industry and as this article shows they have lots to offer in terms of archaeology and desert wildlife. However, it’s hard to imagine that their human rights record and the strict interpretation of Islam won’t put off potential travellers.
A team of researchers is carrying out the first in-depth archaeological survey of part of Saudi Arabia, in a bid to shed light on a mysterious civilisation that once lived there. The Nabataean culture left behind sophisticated stone monuments, but many sites remain unexplored.
The rock-strewn deserts of Al Ula in Saudi Arabia are known for their pitch-black skies, which allow stargazers to easily study celestial bodies without the problem of light pollution. But the region is becoming even more attractive for archaeologists.
A long-lost culture known as the Nabataean civilisation inhabited the area starting from around 100 BC and persisted for some 200 years.
While the Nabataeans ruled their empire from the stunning city of Petra in Jordan, they made Hegra (the modern Mada’in Saleh) in Al Ula their second capital.
Now, archaeologists are planning to carry out the first in-depth survey of a chunk of land here that’s roughly the size of Belgium.