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.
Included in your Hegra Tour
Explore Hegra Through 360 Tours
The Diwan and Jabal Ithlib
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.
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.
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
Charting AlUla’s Rich History Dadan
The Awe-Striking Inscriptions of AlUla Jabal Ikmah
Saudi Arabia's First UNESCO World Heritage Site Hegra
Hegra Heritage Tours and Experiences
Plan Your Trip To AlUla
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