Image via @ww2xplore in Instagram
Saudi Arabia is a nation full of historical mysteries and intrigues, as archeologists continue to uncover clues to ancient civilizations and trade routes dating back millennia. In the Saudi region of Tabuk, there are integral clues of successive civilizations calling the desert landscapes home, which includes Jabal Hisma at the western entrance of Wadi Dham.
On the surface, Jabal Hisma, a rocky range mostly made up of sand, sparse greenery, and sandstones, is a majestic blend of colors across the desert sand and the plateaus, making for an ideal scenery and interesting hiking paths. The plateaus have been exposed to erosion for millennia, giving them their unique appearance. Many of them are said to be some 1,000 meters above sea level, making them amongst the region's tallest elevations.
However, if you take a closer look at this landscape, you'll discover rock inscriptions, the oldest of which date back to the time of the Nabataean civilization. Archeologists have uncovered inscriptions that seem to depict living creatures, and texts written in Hasmai Arabic, a dialect similar to the Nabataean dialect. In contrast to the latter, Hasmai Arabic is perhaps the first to feature connecting alphabets just like modern Arabic. Additional inscriptions, although newer, were written in Kufic Arabic dating back to the early days of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.
In fact, more favorable climates in the past played a vital role in making Jabal Hisma a melting pot of many civilizations. According to archeologists, the region was also home to the Thamudic civilization, and it used to be a major trade route for caravans coming from the Levant. In addition, it was once part of other empires such as Mesopotamia, which is now present-day Iraq.
Whichever way you look at it, Jabal Hisma can offer a great desert location for hikers in the northwestern part of the Kingdom to get lost in, and explore the natural wonders to their heart's desire. On the other hand, the region has several historical sites worth checking out, and the chance to learn about the Kingdom's past. Whatever your aim is, you can't go wrong with adding Jabal Hisma onto your travel list. Just be sure to go with necessary supplies and a terrain appropriate vehicle accompanied by an experienced driver.