From ancient buildings dating back to the Nabatean period, historic artifacts from the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and pre-Islamic villages, Tabuk is a city with many stories to tell.
The best place to start is at the beginning, with Tayma: the oldest human settlement discovered in Saudi Arabia. Believed to have been inhabited initially during the Bronze Age (3300-1200BC), the oasis town is home to countless artifacts, such as ancient Egyptian inscriptions of Ramses III (1186 to 1155 BC) and Cuneiform tablets featuring ancient Aramaic inscriptions (600 BC). It is said that the last Neo-Babylonian Emperor, Nabonidus spent ten years of his retirement in Tayma. Walking through the town, it is impossible not to feel the imbued sense of history.
But Tayma isn’t the only site of ancient human history, there is also Al-Bid’a. Excavations reveal ancient burial sites, adorned in both Nabatean and Greek Ionic style (300 BC). This area is largely believed to be the ancient religious town of Madyan: the town of Prophet Shuaib (also known as Magha'er Shuaib) where the Prophet Mousa (Moses) stayed for 10 years. Similarly, the town of Maqna holds significance within the Abrahamic religions, alleged to hold Bir Al-Sa’idani: the famous well Moses drank from when his journey with Prophet Shuaib began.
When speaking about heritage, Tabuk is dizzyingly robust. At Jabal Hisma, a sprawling and mystical mountain ensemble, you’ll find thousands of ancient Kufic Arabic inscriptions, dating to the early days of Islam. Off the coast, two more modern wrecks lay silently: the Georgios G. ship and the Catalina airboat (early 1900s).
Standing in these places, you’ll find yourself walking in the shoes of countless empires, ancient tribes, and prophets. And whether you’re a history enthusiast or a backpacker in search of a meaningful adventure--these lands are laced with eons of stories worth traversing and making part of your own.
Other notable sites: