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Madain Saleh Tombs

March 24, 2013 by  

Madain Saleh Tombs, Mada’in Saleh , also called Al-Hijr, el Hijr, and Hegra (so in Greek and Latin, e.g. by Pliny Accounts from the Qur’an place the settlement of the area by the tribe of Thamud after Noah but before Moses, which can be interpreted as the 3rd millennium BC.

According to the Islamic text, the Thamudis, who would carve out homes in the mountains, were punished by Allah for their persistent practice of idol worship, the non-believers being struck by a sound wave. Thus, the site has earned a reputation down to contemporary times as a cursed place- an image which the national government is attempting to overcome as it seeks to develop Mada’in Saleh, officially protected as an archaeological site since 1972, for its tourism potential.

In 2008 UNESCO proclaimed Mada’in Saleh as a site of patrimony, becoming Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage Site. It was chosen for its well-preserved remains from late antiquity, especially the 131 rock-cut monumental tombs, with their elaborately ornamented fa├žades, of the Nabatean kingdom.

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