BADR – A number of experts have emphasized the need to transform the historic city of Badr, 150 km southwest of Madinah, into a tourist center, making use of its Islamic heritage sites including the landmarks of the historic Badr battle.
“Badr is qualified to become a tourist center as it houses the site where martyrs of Badr battle have been buried as well as relics dating back to the Roman era and Areesh Mosque,” said Ahmed Al-Jabiri while speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
He urged the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) to take care of historic sites and relics in Badr and develop them into tourist attractions.
Dr. Abdul Wadood Al-Harbi, a researcher, spoke about the historical significance of Badr and said Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) entered Badr with his army through a village named Dabba to confront the might of Quraish.
“The Muslim army stationed in Udwat Al-Dunya,” he added.
Hani Al-Subhi, also a researcher, said the SCTNH has not given enough importance to Badr, which has been famous during the pre-Islamic period for its water resources.
“There was a famous souk, which was held during Dhul Qada 1-8,” he added.
Badr is located on the trade route between Makkah and Syria and along the road from Madinah to Al-Jar, which was an old port on the Red Sea. People used to boast about date palm trees in Badr, Al-Subhi said.
Dr. Saeed Al-Harbi expressed his dismay over the absence of a hotel in Badr being a well-known city in the Madinah region. He urged businessmen to support the government to carry out various development projects in the city.
Khaled Al-Shahrani, director of SCTNH in Madinah, said his organization has given priority to develop historical sites in Badr. “We have agreed with the Defense Ministry to open a historical and military museum within three months,” he added.
Mohammed Al-Abbas, professor of geography and information systems at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, said Badr has the potential to attract tourists. “Badr has an enchanting atmosphere thanks to its beautiful valleys and date palm trees.”
It’s just 20 km away from the Red Sea and is surrounded by attractive mountains and sand dunes, Al-Abbas pointed out.
Authorities have neglected Badr despite its historic importance. Its people have urged the Health Ministry to establish a specialty hospital to meet their growing medical requirements. “At present we have to travel to Madinah to receive specialized treatment,” said Fareeh Al-Mansouri.
The present hospital, which has only 50 beds, receives nearly 350 patients daily. It also receives a large number of accident victims as the hospital is located on the Jeddah-Yanbu-Madinah Expressway, said Abdul Monem Al-Ghamdi.
“The hospital has only three labor rooms and it does not cope with requirements of a governorate with a population of over 40,000,” he added.
Saad Al-Harbi blamed the health department for setting up only a single primary healthcare center in Badr. “We have 15 residential districts and each one of them was supposed to have a health center to reduce pressure on the general hospital.”