Al Jouf is situated in northern part of the Saudi Kingdom where I flew to spend a weekend with lovely outspoken Saudi friends to have fun and explore the place. In 48 hours, we had a collection of memories and beautiful pictures I can’t stop looking at. 5 am, Friday morning, we had a flight for Al Jouf via Saudi Airlines. The airline experience was amazing. As soon as we arrived we met our guide, who was the van driver and his daughter. All nine of us packed in the van started off with our tour. We visited the recently constructed places named Omar mosque and Madrid castle. These were old mud structures resembling that seen in Riyadh. These were basically piles of stone stacked together without cement for which we needed to be careful enough while climbing them. A village surrounded the area.
It is built on a rocky hill said to be for the residence of governors and soldiers providing them protection. Some of us climbed to the top to please ourselves with an amazing view over Sakaka. The place was very cold coz of early morning and the minaret reached heights. They were replicas of the first Islamic mosques. In the surrounding hills of Domat al-Jandal was a beautiful eye-catching natural lake which was modified for irrigation purposes. It was a relaxing soothing picnic spot.
Around the Masjid, you can find a historic and ancient castle which is named as the Qasr Maarid (meaning the Maarid Castle). Hazrat Khalid Bin Waleed R.A was able to capture the ruler of Duma during the third expedition. Khalid bin Walid took along an army of 420 riders to conquer Duma.
As Al-Jouf is an agricultural spot, we visited the olive farm which is responsible for the increasing olive oil market share in Saudi. There are two olive festivals here, one is picking olives and the other is selling olive products including the oil. It was the first place where I saw inter-cropping of different plants together and no doubt an amazing experience. It was a time when we were tired and hungry so we went back to the hotel and freshened ourselves to visit the evening festival to interact with the locals.
There were different decorative wall pieces made of hand-loomed wool. There was a nearby carpet market and tent decor too. We visited Zabil Fort the next day where there was ladder sort of mud pieces to climb but we failed to do so. We were then off for the olive-oil factory, where olives collection from various farms was made, refined and converted into olive oil and packed in large cans for sale. They are famous for fresh good quality oil. We examined the procedure then we were off for Al Kayid Brother Company which also includes Al Kayid Cultural Center for Community services and OUN Social Project assisting local families.
They also built a museum and mall for women only. Next, we visited the Rajajil desert. There were different sort of stones standing for which different myths and stories are heard. It was currently being worked upon to convert it into a tourist spot. It was sunset when we visited a local museum which displayed collections of the owner and the guide showed it in an enthusiastic way. A trip is incomplete without dinner so we had food, visited some more malls and date market stocking ourselves with it. It was an amazing trip with Saudi women and a fresh weekend exploring places.