Saudi Arabia is prominent in history because of its close link to Islam and historical caravan routes. There was a time in the region’s history that slow camel caravans travelled through the deserts of Saudi Arabia. These caravans carried goods for trading and were a source of travelling for humans. You will get a chance to learn a lot about the Kingdom’s history while exploring the historical caravan routes of Saudi Arabia.
Some of the famous historical caravan routes of Saudi Arabia include the route between Taif and Mecca, The Hima Well route, the River Aftan route, the Khaybar route, and more. So, if you have booked Umrah packages from UK and want to explore the trade history of the region, you will need some extra time in the Kingdom.
Historical Caravan Routes in Saudi Arabia
Below listed are some of the famous historical caravan routes in Saudi Arabia.
- Caravan Route between Taif and Mecca
The caravan route between Taif and Mecca is of great historical significance for Saudi Arabia. It is around 1000 years old, and people frequently used it until the 1960s. Al-Qarah Mountain restricted the movement between the two major cities at the time.
Therefore, the authority at the time, who was Hussein bin Salameh ordered to build two roads. Pedestrians were to use one of these roads, while camels were to use the other. The main purpose of building this caravan was to facilitate movement between the two major cities and enhance trading.
Both of the roads were paved with stones and were an excellent example of the expertise of engineers of the time. In the mid-1960s, a third road was added to this automobile caravan route. It is a significant historical landmark of the region.
- The Hima Well
Hima Well is a stop on one of the ancient caravan routes of Saudi Arabia that fascinate archaeologists, historians, and researchers. It is a historical landmark near Najran city consisting of rock art. This rock art depicts humans, animals, spears, arrows, bows, hunting tools, and more. It was an ancient trade route connecting the northern and southern regions of the Arab Peninsula.
The Hima well has seven freshwater springs and all the rock inscriptions. Therefore, the commercial caravans stopped at the wells to refresh before setting on one of the roads leading to two different destinations. One of these roads leads to Najd. While the second one leads to Egypt and the Levant after passing through the region of Hijaz.
The rock art at this historical site is the legacy of many caravans that passed through this site at some point. Many depictions of flora and fauna on these rocks, along with the ancient South Arabian scripts or the Thamudic language. It is a popular tourist site in the Kingdom, and the Saudi authorities are trying to preserve this historical landmark. You will surely come across this site while exploring the historical caravan routes of Saudi Arabia.
- The Incense Route
The Incense Route is a 2000 kilometres long trade route of Saudi Arabia. It is around 4000 years old and was specifically built to bring rich resins of myrrh and frankincense from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean. These resins only grew at the trees available in southern Arabia and northeastern Africa. They were in high demand around the world because of various reasons. Egyptians used these resins in mummies and significantly produced medicines, cosmetics, and much more.
The incense route runs parallel to the Red Sea along the west coast of Saudi Arabia. Nabataean civilisation used their expertise to create this route and many buildings at this site, such as the Hegra, now a UNESCO world heritage site. You will only find remains of this trade route and building projects at this historical landmark.
One hundred preserved tombs made of sandstone are a prominent part of this historical site. They represent the architectural expertise of the Nabataean people. Many symbols on these tombs inspired by Greeks and Romans represent the trade and cultural exchange among the regions at the time. In addition to the tombs, there are also wells in the middle of the desert that display the hydraulic expertise of the people as well. It shows their understanding of dealing with extensive problems to facilitate their purpose.
Saudi Arabia is known for its ancient caravan or trade routes because it served as a bridge between the Arab Peninsula and the Mediterranean. Moreover, Muslims have always come to this region to perform the pilgrimage from all over the world. This explains the need for well-built caravan routes to facilitate the pilgrim in addition to the trade.
So, if you have your Hajj package UK and are going to the Kingdom soon, you will also explore these ancient caravan routes. While exploring the historical caravan routes of Saudi Arabia, you will get a better understanding of the region as a prominent trade route in history.