Qasr Al Saneh – A Nabatean Architectural Wonder

When visiting Madain Saleh (in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk Province), Qasr Al Saneh would be a good place to start learning about the Nabatean architecture which is richly obvious in the carved tombs you’ll see everywhere around the area.

If you’ve been to Petra in Jordan, the architectural wonder you’ll find in Madain Saleh isn’t that different from Jordan’s most photographed tourist attraction. They’re actually similar from top to bottom. Only that, Petra is more stunning than these ones here in Madain Saleh.

Do not expect too much to see here if you’re not into history or archaeology. Or if you’re not into taking a selfie in caves that used to be tombs. No more human skulls and bones there but some are certainly creepy.

Related: The Amazing Petra in Jordan!

Let me bring you inside the Qasr Al Saneh tombs.

This is a facade of one of the tombs. 

Qasr Al Saneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.
Qasr Al Saneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.

And here’s another one, too. 

Qasr Al Saneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.
Qasr Al Saneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.

The tombs are carved in sandstone cliffs, canyons, and boulders. 

Qasr Al Saneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.
Qasr Al Saneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.

Just above the door are carved adornments.

Qasr Al Saneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.
Qasr AlSaneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.

The eagle is a symbol of Nabatean’s male deity, Dushara. 

Madian Saleh's Qasr Al Saneh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.
Madian Saleh’s Qasr AlSaneh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.
Some of the caves here at Qasr Al Saneh are unfinished and some have fallen to the weather–with missing body parts.
Qasr Al Saneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.
Qasr AlSaneh at Madain Saleh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.

Since the Nabateans believe in life after death, their tombs are big and designed like houses. These shelves (below) are nothing but plain shelves that can be useful in their next life. 

Madian Saleh's Qasr Al Saneh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.
Madian Saleh’s Qasr AlSaneh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.

And yes, this is where they bury their dead. Of course, not in a standing position. 😉 

Madian Saleh's Qasr Al Saneh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.
Madian Saleh’s Qasr AlSaneh is an ancient Nabatean architectural marvel.

Madain Saleh is just a 20-minute drive outside of Al Ula where a small airport is located. Al Ula itself is a small city with amazing landscapes that will blow your mind away.

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.

KeepCalmAndWander

A wanderer. A frustrated photographer. Hiker. Lover. Half extrovert, half introvert. Solo traveler.

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KEEP CALM and WANDER