For years, the region of Tabuk has played host to pilgrims, merchants, and travelers. Once an ancient pilgrimage pitstop between Egypt, Jordan, and Madina, Tabuk has also witnessed settlements from the Byzantine Empire. Famous explorers like Charles Doughty have chronicled the region, and to this day, it continues to be a dream expedition site for archaeologists and travelers alike.
Tabuk’s history is marked with transitory journeys, encapsulated by the wrecks and artifacts left behind by voyagers who once passed through this historical region:
Prompting the curiosity of visitors who happen upon this half-submerged wreckage, the Georgios G. wreck has long been the subject of local urban legends. However, here is its true story: the ship was originally an English built cargo liner, whose ownership was passed down to several entities. In early 1977, the vessel was owned by a Greek company transporting flour. But in an unfortunate twist of fate, a Saudi businessman purchased it just before the accident.
The ship was stuck on the coral reef off the coast of Saudi, unable to maneuver. The sailors tried to restart the engine which caused an ignition spark starting a fire that lasted for several days before it sank.
The once-vast Hijaz Railway was officially opened in 1908, it ran from Damascus to Medina, through the Hejaz region. Its construction took 8 years to complete, and it traversed 1,320 km of land. Originally, it was designed to speed Muslim pilgrims from Damascus to the holy cities of Makkah and Medina. The terrain presented many challenges. One portion of the tracks required the building of both a tunnel and a long bridge. Several stations were built along the line as well, supplying necessities and water for travelers. The railway withstood several attacks, but the most prominent one occurred during WWI. Sections of the line were attacked by T.E. Lawrence (AKA Lawrence of Arabia) and his allies. By 1918, less than two decades after the project’s beginning, the railway lay in ruins. The track was unofficially abandoned by 1920. The museum has a treasure trove of artifacts, manuscripts, and photographs from a bygone era. Some of the items are from the age of the railway, and others from far earlier.
A lonely wreckage perched on an undisturbed coastal strip, surrounded by crystalline waters- The Catalina seaplane landed in 1960 with an American family on board, who were later found and brought to the American Embassy in Jeddah.