10 things to know about Madain Saleh

We have explained everything about Madain Saleh including its history in Quran and Hadith, entrance fee, and the hotels to stay in.

Madain Saleh History

Madain Saleh was once the capital of the Kingdom of Lihyan. It is believed that the people of Thamud started inhabiting this place at around 800 B.C. (i.e. around 2900 years from now).

This area has been discussed in the Holy Quran as well as in a Hadith. Thre is a story of Prophet Saleh عليه السلام and his camel that makes it the single most important tourist place to visit in Al Ulah. 

Madain Saleh history

Prophet Saleh and his camel

People of Thamud used to live in this area where Prophet Saleh عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ was sent to guide them.  In fact, this is the reason this area is called Madain Saleh.

In order to test Prophet Saleh عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ, they asked him to bring a special camel which was later on killed by the leaders of Thamud. Finally, Allah destroyed the people of Thamud with an earthquake.

Prophet Saleh and his camel
The well from where the camel of Prophet Saleh عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ used to drink water.

Madain Saleh in Quran

A section is present in the Holy Quran which explains the real story of these houses. “And you carve out of the mountains, homes, with skill”. Ash-Shu’ara 26:149.

“And do not touch her with harm, lest you be seized by the punishment of a terrible day. But they hamstrung her and so became regretful. And the punishment seized them. Indeed, that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers.” Ash-Shu’ara 26:156-158

Madain Saleh in Quran

Madain Saleh Hadith

Many people avoid going to this place due to a hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ where he abstained people from entering the place.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “Do not enter the ruined dwellings of those who were unjust to themselves unless (you enter) weeping, lest you should suffer the same punishment as was inflicted upon them.” – Sahi Bukhari 3381

Madain Saleh Hadith

Entrance Fee

You need to book a 2 hours Hegra tour package to enter Madain Saleh against a fee of SR 95/adult and SR 45/child. It will ake you to the following areas;

  • Winter Park.
  • Tomb of Lihyan Son of Kuza – 72 feet tall.
  • Jabal AlBanat – 29 tombs.
  • Jabal Ithlib.
  • Handcraft Pavilion
  • Jabal AlAhmar – 18 tombs.

 

UNESCO Heritage Site

In 2008, UNESCO declared that the city of Al Hegra is one of the most historic heritage sites located in the world, making Madain Saleh the first city of Saudi Arabia to be included in the list of world heritage!

Do we need a permit to enter?

Previously, you were required to take an entry permit to enter Madain Saleh. However, now no one can enter this area without booking a prior package as explained above.

How to reach there?

There are two flights every week to the Al Ula airport which is operated by Saudi Airlines. The airport is located around 15 kilometers southeast of Al Ula town.

  • The distance between Riyadh and Al Ula: 1035 Km.
  • The distance between Jeddah and Al Ula: 710 Km.
  • The distance between Dammam and Al Ula: 1432 Km.

There are direct buses being run to Al Ula from nearly every major city. 

Al Ula Airport
Al Ula Airport

Where to stay?

There are many hotels around Madain Saleh but if your budget allows, you should stay in one of these 3 luxury villas in Al Ula.
  1. Habitas: https://maps.app.goo.gl/DXrx9wa4CB8y3AGT6
  2. Shaden: https://maps.app.goo.gl/sWeJso9xCSBptj8QA
  3. Sahary: https://maps.app.goo.gl/Msq1iG6PsXhTCtS96

Madain Saleh Hotels

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.