Rock art mountains, an open museum of history, overlook NEOM

October 13, 2020

Saudi Gazette report

TABUK — Alluring majestic mountains, apparently carrying in their folds an open museum of history with vast treasures of rock inscriptions and ancient Islamic writings, overlook Saudi Arabia’s ambitious NEOM project in the northwestern Tabuk region.

There are numerous mountainous regions with rock artworks and inscriptions that date back to different chronological periods, ranging from the Paleolithic to the Islamic period. These rock arts adorn the mountains and heights of the Hasma hilltops, located within Bajda mountains west of the Tabuk region.

The rock inscriptions, which embody the landmarks of the civilization and history of the region, were characterized by the topography and natural components of the region.

Abdul Ilah Al-Faris, a photographer, who documented the region with his lens, said: “These archaeological sites on the rocky facades of Hasma hilltops are of unique importance to archaeologists and historians, and also to students who do research works on the evolution of Arabic language, as they are the first sites where the primitive Arabic inscriptions and writings were discovered.

These inscriptions were known later as Hasami dialect, which is an Arabic dialect similar to the Nabataean dialect, and it is distinguished by being the first Arabic writing in which the letters are related to each other as well as to the Kufic script. The Hasami letter resembles the Safawi letter, except that it is distinguished from the latter by its location and history.

Al-Faris said that Hasma is located southwest of the city of Tabuk, and specifically in the famous region of Bajda. “The Bajda region carries ancient inscriptions and writings, embodying the civilization and cultural heritage of the Tabuk region. Bajda is also added to the library of historical Islamic writings of our beloved Kingdom as it is one of the natural and tourist places that serve as an open museum in the dream city of NEOM,” he said.

It is noteworthy that Bajda is situated about 100 km northwest of Tabuk, in a distinctive location where the rocky Bajda Mountains are situated, featuring a natural arch, colored sand dunes, and many other natural elements.

Bajda is unique with its beautiful hills and colorful sand, and thousands of rock formations that are spread around it over hundreds of kilometers, each of which is distinguished by its unique size and shape.

There are high scenic viewpoints that can be accessed by car. Bajda, which is an extension of Wadi Rum in southern Jordan, is considered as one of the best sites for mountaineering enthusiasts.

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