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 for 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 tourist attractions, 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.
There are more than 800 old townhouses but only the ones inside the Al Ula Castle are being “taken cared of.”
The houses are attached to one another.
There are two storeys. The first floor was used to receive people and as storage. The second floor (which s totally destroyed by time) was used as the main living room.
The tower has the most picturesque view of 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.
HOTEL IN AL-ULA
Do you want to enjoy swimming in a pool while glamping in the middle of a desert? Habitas Al-Ula will surely wow you! Or do you want to stay in a caravan with 5-star amenities and service? The staff at Caravan by Habitas are waiting for your presence. For more great accommodations at Al Ula, you can find them here.
Things to do in Al Ula
There are a few things you can do in Al Ula. You can visit Madain Saleh, The Elephant Rock, the canyon, or go mountain climbing. Or if you just want to chill, you can always sit around a campfire and drink tea while enjoying your shisha. And don’t forget to marvel at the shimmering beauty of the Maraya Concert Hall – dubbed as the largest mirrored building in the world by the Guinness World of Records.