After driving northwest from Hail, through reddish and hardly resistible desert landscapes, we arrive in Jubbah. Called one of the most beautiful places in the world by British explorer Lady Anne Blunt in the 19th century, Jubbah welcomes us with huge coffee cans on its roudabouts, and at the very end, we arrive at the entrance to the site where we hope to find rock carvings. The gate is closed, and there is no car at the parking. When we walk inside the small building, two guys welcome us, get a key, open the gate, and tell us to go north, not south. We have read that a permit might be necessary to visit this sight, so we are pleasantly surprised. We walk past the first outcrop, and soon spot our first carvings, depicting animals. We decide to follow the track to another outcrop and return to the first one later. We climb a yellow, metal staircase, and the longer we look, the more we see.
We descend, and decide to walk the rocks themselves. At every turn, we discover more. Oryx, ibex, camels, birds that look like ostrich but we are later told would be ducks: there are dozens, if not hundreds animals carved on the reddish-dark brown rocks. We walk around the outcrop anti-clockwise, climb the rocks. Almost everywhere we can reach, we see carvings of different types. We discover bigger rocks, and see the first human figures, holding long spears, mounted on top of what look like enormous bulls. The more we explore, the more we like this new challenge of discovering petroglyphs. We would undoubtedly have seen more with a guide, but on the other hand, we are free to go wherever we want, and can take the time we need. Have a rest. And imagine all those people who have been carving these rocks many thousands of years ago; these carvings date back to 10.000 years ago.
Actually, while very dry now, this area used to have lakes, and was savannah like. When we continue our walk around the furthest outcrop, we see more human figures, some seeming starved. We discover a lion, and more hunters mounted on camels. When we walk back to the first outcrop, we continue our walk there. We now see inscriptions in languages that far predate Arabic. We climb up the rocks, and discover that some are full of all kinds of petroglyphs. At some points, there are great views of the surrounding landscape. The outcrops in the distance must also hold many rock carvings, we imagine. We finish our walk, after having seen many hundreds of carved animals. We are invited into the office, hear that the official guide is off for the day, and enjoy some tasty dates before we start our drive back to Hail - very satisfied with our visit at the exciting petroglyphs of Jubbah.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Jubbah rock carvings (Saudi Arabia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Jubbah rock carvings. Read more about this site.