Dadan

Lost treasures of Arabia

One of the most important discoveries at AlUla – and one which made the world’s archaeological community sit up and take note – was unearthing the ancient city of Dadan. Once the capital of the Dadan and Lihyan kingdoms more than 2,000 years ago, this breathtaking stone city is home to famous tombs that were neatly and skilfully cut into the red rock cliff faces.

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Secrets still to be told

The painstaking excavation of this enormously significant hub of trade and agriculture that stood on the incense route has resulted in a stunning site that takes visitors deep into the history of northwest Arabia. Archaeologists are still unravelling the secrets of these magnificent tombs and their inscriptions, including the fascinating question of how craftsmen were able to build them up to 50 metres above the ground.

Standing Guard

Seated lion sculptures that symbolised power and protection stand guard at what some believe is the burial place of an elite member of society, perhaps even royalty, and give the site its name: the Lion Tombs.

Know Before You Go 

Insights to help make Dadan part of your AlUla experience

Location

Location

Dadan, Saudi Arabia

The best way to visit the ancient city of Dadan is through an organised tour, either in a private vintage Land Rover or on a coach. Tours include a visit to Jabal Ikmah, and start from SAR 60, lasting approximately two hours. Self-drive is not permitted.

All visitors must adhere to the designated walking paths around Dadan. It is prohibited to enter non-designated areas, including the tombs. There is still much to be discovered, and entering the tombs or touching the engravings may cause irreparable damage.

As there are a limited number of tours each day, it is highly recommended that you pre-book your tour. Purchasing tickets at the visitor centre is also possible, according to availability.

The Dadan Visitor Centre offers guests a taste of traditional Arab hospitality; based on the seasons, this may include dates and other dried fruits, fresh juices, and Saudi coffee. There is also a small gift shop.

The drive between the two destinations takes approximately 10 minutes.

Please only take photographs. Do not remove or take anything from the area. Visitors who mistreat the monuments will be asked to leave.

Children over 8 years old are welcome.

Smoking is prohibited anywhere near the heritage sites, except in designated smoking areas located along the tour route.

Bottled water will be provided on the tour, but visitors are also encouraged to bring their own water bottles.

Cancelled experiences up to 3 days before the scheduled tour will be refunded (excluding credit card fees). Experiences cancelled within 1-3 days before your tour may be rebooked if time slots are available, but you will not be eligible for a refund. Tours cancelled on the day of the tour cannot be refunded or rebooked.

Visitors are required to park for free at Winter Park in AlUla where you will board a coach to transfer you to the Dadan Visitor Centre. Only visitors on the Land Rover tours may park directly at the Dadan Visitor Centre.

Everything you need to know

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