Sites & cities that bear the name of Mada'in Saleh

Mada'in Saleh

Today in : Saudi Arabia
First trace of activity : ca. 3rd century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 4th century C.E
Recorded names : مَدَائِن صَالِح‎, madāʼin Ṣāliḥ, Al-Ḥijr, ٱلْحِجْر‎, Hegra, Madâin Sâlih, Madain Saleh

Description : Mada'in Saleh (Arabic: مَدَائِن صَالِح‎, romanized: madāʼin Ṣāliḥ, lit. 'Cities of Saleh'), also called Al-Ḥijr (Arabic: ٱلْحِجْر‎) or "Hegra", is an archaeological site located in the Sector of Al-`Ula within Al Madinah Region in the Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. A majority of the remains date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century CE). The site constitutes the kingdom's southernmost and largest settlement after Petra (modern-day Jordan), its capital. Traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation before and after the Nabatean rule, respectively, can also be found. The Quran places the settlement of the area by the Thamudi people during the days of Saleh, between those of Nuh (Noah) and Hud on one hand, and those of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses) on the other. According to the Islamic text, the Thamudis were punished by Allah (God) for their practice of idol worship, being struck by an earthquake and lightning blasts. Thus, the site has earned a reputation as a cursed place—an image which the national government is attempting to overcome as it seeks to develop Mada'in Saleh for its potential for tourism. 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 façades, of the Nabatean kingdom.

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