Al-Jouf: Treasure house of diverse heritage sites and rock carvings

Al-Jouf: Treasure house of diverse heritage sites and rock carvings
Al-Jouf: Treasure house of diverse heritage sites and rock carvings

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report

SAKAKA — Al-Jouf is one of the richest regions of the Kingdom with its great treasures of archaeological and heritage sites, and cultural and historical diversity. The richness of the region is illustrated well in its rock carvings, relics and inscriptions that date back to the pre-Islamic Thamud, Nabataean, and Greek eras.

The environmental diversity and natural wealth of Al-Jouf makes it a multi-choice destination for tourists and visitors. The historical monuments come in the forefront of the attractive features of the region, and these include the oldest human settlements in Al-Shoihaitia heritage village dating back to the old stone age; the ruins of Al-Rajajeel; the Islamic era heritages, most notably the Omar Bin Al-Khattab Mosque; and Al-Diriyah and Al-Dilaa neighborhoods that date back to about 200 years with its stone buildings and narrow alleys. The mosque is situated in the town of Dumat Al-Jandal, a major intersection of ancient trade routes linking Mesopotamia, Syria and the Arabian Peninsula.

There also many historical forts and castles such as the Marid Castle in Dumat Al-Jandal, Zubal Castle in Sakaka, the Kaf Palace and Jabal Al-Saeedi in Al-Qurayyat governorate and the Nabataean Palace. Marid is a giant castle on the top of a mountain and it has four towers in its irregular-formed corners due to the nature of the mountain peak area. It has a surrounding wall built of mud and stone decorated with mud engravings.

Al-Jouf region has gained the advantage of embracing its deserts with the presence of the lake of Dumat Al-Jandal. In the middle of sand dunes, the lake has turned into a marine resort with an area of more than one million square meters, with roaming boats and water bicycles in a unique experience, while its banks are equipped with sitting areas on greenaries spreading over 14,000 sq. meters. The lake is fed by the groundwater besides the excess water from farms which flow to the middle of the lake. Dumat Al-Jandal is an ancient city of ruins with invaluable cultural treasures.

Al-Jouf has several wild parks, including Laijah Park in the Great Nafud desert in Dumat Al-Jandal, the Qara Mountaintop Park in Sakaka, and Al-Khozami Park with its natural environment away from the hustle and bustle of the city and Al-Nakheel and Al-Khozami Park in the heart of Sakaka city.

Al-Jouf region is considered one of the most fertile regions of the Kingdom, and its Tabarjal town is called as the “food basket of the Kingdom” due to the variety of its crops. The region is famous for its old traditional and modern farms within unique agricultural projects of 12,000 farms for olive, date palm, citrus and almonds, as well as various crops and vegetables.

A number of rural villages spread throughout the region, especially in Wadi Al-Sarhan. Al-Jouf is one of the areas of the natural paths of migratory birds, and therefore bird lovers find the pleasure of observing the Harra Al-Hurra reserve, where migratory birds gather from north to south. This reserve provides protection to birds due to the difficulty in accessing and hunting people.

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