The Nabataean culture developed enormously thanks to the trade routes that were established in ancient times between the Eastern Mediterranean and the heart of Asia. Thanks to that, he has left us a city carved into the rock that has become one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. We refer to Petra, in the territory of Jordan.
Mada in Saleh Ruins
However, the Nabataeans to the south of their lands excavated another truly impressive and much less well-known site than the famous Jordanian tourist site. It's the ancient city of Mada'in Saleh, which is spectacular, but being located within Saudi Arabia, it has gone completely unnoticed for a long time for much of the world.
The Nabateans named it Hagra. Although before them the people of the Lihyanites and the Thamudis would already inhabit it, archaeologists have found traces of the latter that are even older and can be dated to more than four thousand years ago.
Somehow, Hagra or Mada'in Saleh became the capital of the south for the Nabataeans, during their peak period between the 1st century BC and the II of our Era. In this case, as an essential stop on the trade routes between the Arabian Peninsula and the lands of the Middle East closest to the sea Mediterranean.
TheNabataeans were the ones who created the incredible cavities that can exceed 16 meters in height inside the large blocks of rock. Most of them are fantastic tombs for which imposing facades were carved. Historians have documented more than 100 of these funerary monuments. However, throughout several kilometers of desert not only tombs have been counted and studied, there are also the remains of defensive constructions and the remains of cisterns for the essential storage of water.
The desert landscape of Mada in Saleh
Admittedly, it's not a well-known place and not easy to visit, but historians and the lucky few who have visited say it's even better preserved than Petra, with which it has so many artistic similarities. But here the remains have suffered less erosion. And of course the lower influx of tourism also helps its conservation. For all it is listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the first place with such an award in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, it is very possible that it will continue to give surprises, since archaeological work continues on its surface.