Rock Art & Inscriptions
AlUla also has one of the most important concentrations of rock art and carved inscriptions in the Middle East. These timeless traces of the cultures that visited and settled here are a reminder that for many millennia, AlUla was a culturally diverse melting pot.
For thousands of years, travellers on popular pilgrimage and trade routes in north-western Saudi Arabia often stopped in city hubs to do business and rest. Many of the visitors left messages, or inscriptions, carved and etched into stone to mark their journey through the extraordinary landscapes that now comprise AlUla. Just like today’s authors sign their work, so did some of the inscription writers who made dedications, asked for blessings for crops and health, and gave offerings.
Those messages, so important to the people who etched them into stone, now bring a new level of appreciation to the ancient cultures of AlUla.
WHERE TO SEE THEM
See hundreds of significant inscriptions in Jabal Ikmah, as well as AlAqra’a and Naqsh Zuhayr, which visitors will be able to experience in the future. These writings at the sites of the ancient Dadan, Lihyan and Nabataean kingdoms give an incredible snapshot into the history of the region, which includes the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra.
Visitors can also see inscriptions and rock art at the trails, and at Ashar valley. At numerous epigraphic points, see hundreds of inscriptions that show how languages evolved since the first millennium. AlUla’s inscriptions include those written in the ancient and historic languages of Dadanitic, Thamudic, Minaic and Nabataean.
Follow the Rock Art Trail with a guide to see inscriptions accompanying ancient carvings and the artistic stylings of animals, including dogs, lions, camels, goats and antelopes. Activities such as hunting, eating and worshipping are depicted in addition to common utensils. Other AlUla Trails excursions can reveal these messages as well.
Discover an array of flora and fauna at Shaaran Nature Reserve
In addition to its enchanting history and culture, AlUla is home to raw, breathtaking wilderness and an array of diverse flora and fauna.