Mada’in Saleh (Arabic: مدائن صالح, madāʼin Ṣāliḥ), also called Al-Hijr or Hegra, is a pre-Islamic archaeological site located in the Al-Ula sector, within the Al Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia. A majority of the vestiges date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century AD). The site constitutes the kingdom’s southernmost and largest settlement after Petra, its capital.Traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation before and after the Nabatean rule, respectively, can also be found.
Al Hijr site (Madaen Saleh), was the first ever archeological site in Saudi Arabia to join the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It’s registration in the World Heritage List represents global recognition of the value of Saudi culture and history, as well as the integrity of the procedures and measures that have gone into the registration process of the site. Al Hijr, “MADA’EN SALEH” is located 22 kilometers to the north of Al Ula municipality in the Madina Al Munawara province, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It occupies a strategic position on the ancient trade route that links southern Arabia with Mesopotamia, the Levant, and the Egypt.
Archaeological traces of cave art on the sandstones and epigraphic inscriptions, considered by experts to be Lihyanite script, on top of the Athleb Mountain, near Mada’in Saleh, have been dated to the 3rd–2nd century BC, indicating the early human settlement of the area, which has an accessible source of freshwater and fertile soil. The settlement of the lihyans became a center of commerce, with goods from the east, north and south converging in the locality.