Hegra: Saudi Arabia's First UNESCO World Heritage Site

Visit Hegra to experience Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you’ll explore over 110 remarkably well preserved tombs set in a desert landscape, while learning about the ancient people and culture of AlUla.

Evidence for human presence and use of the site dates back beyond the 1st millennium BCE, but it was the location of the Nabataean city from the end of the 1st millennium BCE into the 1st millennium CE. The city was at its peak from the late 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE.

Along with the wondrous tombs, which were used to lay Nabataean elite to rest, visitors will find wells and stone-lined water channels demonstrating the civilisation's expert craftsmanship. Roman influence is also present in the form of defensive walls, gates and towers that once encircled the city.

Limited-Time Exhibition

Meet ‘Hinat’

For the first time, visitors can come face to face with an over 2,000-year-old Nabataean woman. ‘Hinat’, as she is affectionately known by the archaeologists, was excavated from one of Hegra’s tombs in 2008. A small exhibition at the Hegra Welcome Centre gives an insight into the creation of the world’s first reconstruction of a Nabataean woman and explores her life in this once vibrant city at the heart of the Incense Road. This special exhibition commemorates Hegra’s 15th Anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Included in your Hegra Tour


Explore Hegra Through 360 Tours

Interactive 360 tours provide you with insight into the historical significance of Hegra, the Nabatean culture, their ingenuity and awe-inspiring tombs.

360 Experience

Jabal AlAhmar

Among Hegra’s outcrops is Jabal AlAhmar, a name referring to the red hue of the rock. This location has 18 tombs, of which, a few were recently excavated.

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360 Experience

Jabal AlBanat

Over 100 monumental tombs are carved into the rocky outcrops surrounding the ancient city of Hegra. Jabal AlBanat has one of the largest clusters of tombs; 29 tombs are carved on all sides of the sandstone rock.

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360 Experience

The Diwan and Jabal Ithlib

Religious or ritual practices at Hegra were concentrated around Jabal Ithlib, a natural mountain outcrop to the east of the city.

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What You Can't Miss

Today, Hegra is best known for having more than 100 monumental tombs carved from rock formations, in which the Nabataean elite were laid to rest. Inscriptions, detailing who was buried within, remain above some of these breathtaking burial chambers to this day. As you walk through the site, you’ll find tombs dedicated to healers, military figures, local leaders and others.

Inscriptions can be found throughout the site of Hegra. They reveal the origins of the Arabic language, and illuminate the customs and beliefs of ancient civilisations. In addition to the inscriptions, you’ll see repeated stylised stone carvings, or betyls. These stone blocks acted as representations of the gods. Some feature stylised eyes, noses and mouths.

Other Special Places To See

Around Hegra, you may see the ruins of more than 130 wells, which is evidence that the Nabataeans adapted skilfully to AlUla’s arid climate. The wells could be replenished by groundwater and rainfall, enabling them to also act as cisterns. Excavations have shown that stone-lined water channels and ceramic pipes were used to move water away from courtyards into the streets, as well as carved above the tomb facades to move rainwater away from the intricate details, helping to preserve them.

Surprising Details

On your visit, look for Roman influences. The Nabataean kingdom was annexed by the Roman Empire in 106 CE. Traces of a rampart were first discovered during the early 20th century and revealed that the town was encircled by a 3-kilometre-long wall with between three and five gates, protected by several towers and significant buttresses. Hegra’s position on the incense and trading routes meant that it was provided with strong military protection by both the Nabataeans and the Romans.

Visitor Information

To avoid disappointment, we recommend you book Hegra tickets online before arrival. 

Alternatively, you may purchase your tickets at the information desk located at Winter Park.

Explore AlUla's Heritage Sites

Where pilgrims, travellers and permanent settlers congregated through the ages. AlUla Old Town

Look up at the fort above while walking through the labyrinth of streets of AlUla Old Town that was occupied from the 900s CE until the 1980s. Nearly 900 two-storey mud brick houses, 400 shops, five squares and a mosque populated the oasis town. It was a key stop along the Islamic pilgrimage route from Damascus to Makkah. Travellers, traders and pilgrims would be met outside the town’s walls.

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Charting AlUla’s Rich History Dadan

Before the Nabataeans, AlUla was the capital of the ancient kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan, which controlled the caravan trade in the first millennium BCE. Dadan linked southern Arabian kingdoms producing valuable aromatics to the growing markets in the Mediterranean world. See remarkably well-preserved tombs, expertly carved from a towering red-rock mountain face that overlooks the valley oasis. A special highlight is the famed Lion Tombs marked by seated lion sculptures.

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The Awe-Striking Inscriptions of AlUla Jabal Ikmah

What was part of the caravan way station served as a record keeper of sorts with carvings providing information to researchers about the way of life of the Dadanites, Lihyanites and others. Hundreds of inscriptions referring to journeys, pilgrimage, ritual and offerings can be found here. Rock art depicting humans, chariots, harps, camels, bovines, goats, scorpions and ibex can all be spotted.

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Saudi Arabia's First UNESCO World Heritage Site Hegra

The Nabataean site of Hegra, was the southern capital of the Nabataean kingdom, dating back to the first century BCE. Today, visitors will find that more than 100 well-preserved monumental tombs remain, most with elaborate facades carved from rock formations that are scattered throughout this immense desert landscape.

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Hegra Heritage Tours and Experiences

Hegra Tour

Visit Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the largest preserved site of the Nabataean civilisation south of Petra.

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Plan Your Trip To AlUla

Flying to AlUla

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What to Do

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Where to Eat

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Where to Stay

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