Ha’il

To continue sharing photos from our recent long roadtrip; after Madinah, we drove to Ha’il.  Passing shepherds, sheep, and goats along the way.

And of course more camels . . .

and at times asking the age old question –

why did the camel cross the road.

[we never did discover the answer – clearly the grass isn’t greener on the other side.]  Passing a few quaint small desert towns –

Many of these small towns had mud ruins on the edges.

Arriving in Ha’il, we saw this beautiful Ottoman looking building just down the road from our hotel.

Ha’il was the center of the Rashid emirate between 1836 – 1921, when the Saud family united the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  It was on a major caravan route until the Ottomans opened the Hejas Railroad between Damascus and Madinah.  Many foreign travelers wrote about their visits to Ha’il in the 19th century, including Georg August Wallin (1854), William Palgrave (1865), Lady Anne Blunt (1881), and Charles Doughty (1888.)

We didn’t get photos of Qishlah Fortress, a traditional mud brick fortress in the center of Ha’il built relatively recently – the 1940’s.  It was used as a police training center and is a beautiful example of traditional architecture.

‘Airif  Fortress sits a bit higher up and is over 200 years old.

There are beautiful views of Ha’il from the top.

And then after just a short stay we were on our way again – across the Nafud Desert . . .

towards Domat al-Jandal (al-Jouf) and Sakaka

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