The old town of Al Ula is both historical and biblical.
In Biblical Times, Al Ula was called “Dedan.” It is mentioned in Isaiah 21:13 as a home trade base of Arab caravans. Today, the old town of Al Ula is a ghost town. No one lives there anymore but there’s a new town that is settled not far from the old.
When you think of old towns as a tourist attraction, you’d think of them as fully-renovated places restored for commercial purposes.
But these mud brick houses of the Old Town of Al Ula are untouched.
In fact, the houses are decaying and collapsing.
The only ones restored here are the fortifications and some of the steps leading to the tower.
There is no entrance fee and anyone can go in and out. There’s no one even watching here.
The houses are attached to one another.
There are two storeys. The first floor was used to receive people and as a storage. The second floor (which s totally destroyed by time) was used as the main living room.
The tower has the most picturesque view the town.
The green palm trees surrounded by the sandstone formations of mountains are stunning.
The view of the dilapidated mud-brick houses and the modern houses at a far distance is very contrasting.
A walk inside is literally a walk to the past.
The last inhabitant who left here was 33 years ago.
This is the ancient Masjid Al-Izam (Mosque of the Bones) in the middle of the old town.
It is believed that Prophet Mohammed prayed here and designated the mihrab using a bone.
You should go camping – an experience you won’t forget. We stayed both in Sahary Al Ola Camp and Madakhil Camp. If one is full, we choose the other. If camping in the desert is not your thing, you can always stay at Al Ula Arac Hotel downtown.