While there are thousands of pre-Arabic inscriptions across numerous sites in the Valley of AlUla, Jabal Ikmah stands out by far as the most important. Etched and carved into its golden stone, its hundreds of centuries-old inscriptions have even earned the site official UNESCO recognition for historical significance with its induction into their Memory of the World Register.
Surrounded by dramatic desert landscape, the largest ‘open-air library’ in Saudi Arabia sits tucked away in a remote canyon valley. One piece of evidence that shows AlUla was truly a crossroads of civilisations is Jabal Ikmah – a sacred place visited by those wishing to leave their inscriptions and offerings en route through AlUla. Records kept here are in the form of hundreds of inscriptions and carvings that line the cliff faces and rocks, ensuring that Jabal Ikmah would be remembered throughout the ages.
Thought to date as far back as the 1st millennium BCE, a visit to this magnificent site offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. Gazing at its rock art of humans, musical instruments and animals, you can discover what was important in the daily lives of people in the Dadanite, Lihyanite and other civilisations of AlUla. Long after AlUla’s ancient people walked this site, researchers and historians visited Jabal Ikmah to study its ancient inscriptions and carvings. Now you can visit too, imagine Jabal Ikmah’s status as a place of ritual and spiritual significance, and feel the power of this magical place still resonating today.