Saudi Arabia's First UNESCO World Heritage Site
Visit Hegra to experience Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you’ll explore over 110 remarkably well preserved tombs set in a desert landscape, while learning about the ancient people and culture of AlUla.
Evidence for human presence and use of the site dates back beyond the 1st millennium BCE, but it was the location of the Nabataean city from the end of the 1st millennium BCE into the 1st millennium CE. The city was at its peak from the late 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE.
Jabal Al Banat
Over 100 monumental tombs are carved into the rocky outcrops surrounding the ancient city of Hegra. Jabal AlBanat has one of the largest clusters of tombs; 29 tombs are carved on all sides of the sandstone rock.
Among Hegra’s outcrops is Jabal AlAhmar, a name referring to the red hue of the rock. This location has 18 tombs of which a few were recently excavated.
The Diwan and Jabal Ithlib
Religious or ritual practices at Hegra were concentrated around Jabal Ithlib, a natural mountain outcrop to the east of the city.
Book Your Hegra Day Tour
Visit Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the largest preserved site of the Nabataean civilisation south of Petra. Home to more than 110 tombs carved from giant rock formations, this ancient site is open for visitors to explore and learn about the culture, traditions, and history of its people.
What You Can't Miss
Today, Hegra is best known for its more than 110 monumental tombs carved from rock formations in which the Nabataean elite were laid to rest. Inscriptions, detailing who was buried within, remain above some of these breathtaking burial chambers to this day. As you walk through the site, you’ll find tombs dedicated to healers, military figures, local leaders and others.
Inscriptions can be found throughout the site of Hegra. They reveal the origins of the Arabic language, and illuminate the customs and beliefs of ancient civilisations. In addition to the inscriptions, you’ll see repeated stylised stone carvings, or betyls. These stone blocks acted as representations of the gods. Some feature stylised eyes, noses and mouths.
Other Special Places To See
Around Hegra, you may see the ruins of more than 130 wells — evidence that the Nabateans adapted skilfully to AlUla’s arid climate. The wells could be replenished by groundwater and rainfall, enabling them to also act as cisterns. Excavations have shown that stone-lined water channels and ceramic pipes were used to move water away from courtyards into the streets, as well as carved above the tomb facades to move rainwater away from the intricate details, helping to preserve them.
On your visit, look for Roman influence. The Nabataean kingdom was annexed by the Roman Empire in 106 CE. Traces of a rampart were first discovered during the early 20th century and revealed that the town was encircled by a 3-kilometre-long wall with between three and five gates, protected by several towers and significant buttresses. Hegra’s position on the incense and trading routes meant that it was provided with strong military protection by both the Nabataeans and the Romans.
Due to Covid-19 health and safety precautions, Hegra is operating at a limited capacity.
To avoid disappointment, we recommend you book Hegra tickets online before arrival.
Alternatively, you may purchase your tickets at the information desk located at Winter Park.
Staff and visitors alike are being prompted to wash their hands frequently with soap and water. You’ll find plenty of sanitisation stations at the main sites. Where handwashing facilities are not immediately available, sanitiser gel dispensers are provided.
A number of essential employees are on-site at any one time. Staff who come into contact with visitors are provided with masks and gloves. High-touch items and surfaces are disinfected frequently and areas are kept well ventilated.
A dedicated security team is on hand to help ensure the guidelines are observed. If you have any questions relating to travelling during the Covid-19 pandemic, please call the national helpline for tourism queries on 930, which is staffed around the clock.