When visiting Madain Saleh (in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk Province), Qasr Al Saneh would be a good place to start to learn 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.
Let me bring you inside the Qasr Al Saneh tombs.
This is a facade of one of the tombs.
And here’s another one, too.
The tombs are carved in sandstone cliffs, canyons, and boulders.
Just above the door are carved adornments.
The eagle is a symbol of Nabatean’s male deity, Dushara.
Since the Nabateans believe in life after death, their tombs are big and designed like houses. These shelves (below) are nothing but plain shelves which can be useful in their next life.
And yes, this is where they bury their dead. Of course, not in a standing position. 😉
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.
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 in downtown.