Al-‘Ula is a small town northwest of Saudi Arabia, extremely rich in nature, history, and traditional architecture. The breathtaking views of rock formations, sand dunes, and palm tree oases around al-‘Ula have been essential parts of its history and built environment. Along with Mada’in Saleh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in close proximity to Al-‘Ula, there are ruins of ancient kingdoms such as Dedan, Lihyan, Ma’in, and the Nabatean in addition to remains dating back to early Islamic eras and modern history. Although these ruins are sufficient enough to signify the historic, geographic, and natural importance of al-‘Ula, the town’s organic urban fabric exhibited in the narrow zigzagged alleys adds more fascination and mystery to it and its cultural background.

Though al-‘Ula was deserted more than 40 years ago, its street network, gates, and buildings are still intact. Strolling through the zigzagged dark alleys sided by half-stone-half mud buildings is a unique experience that only exists in al-‘Ula. This book unearths the history, nature, and architecture of al-‘Ula, and will be of interest to people in the fields of urban history, architecture, sociology, anthropology, and Saudi heritage.

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