The breadbasket of Saudi Arabia
Explore the Kingdom’s fertile deserts, ancient towns and historical castles of early Islam
Found in the north of Saudi Arabia, close to the border with Jordan, Al Jouf is one of the most spectacular parts of the country, comprising of deserts, rich agricultural areas and amazing landscapes. There are also a number of important archaeological sites stretching back to the copper and stone ages found here. It also one of the most fertile regions in the country, home to millions of olive, palm and fruit trees, producing around 10, 00 tonnes of olive oil annually from its 23 oil presses. No wonder it is known as “The Kingdom’s food basket”. Visitors are able to take tours of any of the 3,000 olive farms in the region as well as the presses and learn all about the production of one of the planet’s cooking staples.
Key attractions of the region include the Marid Castle which was built in 1AD and was the base for ruling factions in the region over a long period. The castle is home to an interesting display of historical artefacts, paintings and photographs which give a superb insight in to just how important this region was and indeed is. The Al Jouf Museum also pays homage to the significance of the area. Another great spot to visit is the Al Dar’I Quarter in the ancient town of Dumat Al Jundal, one of the earliest Islamic settlements in the region. There is also the Mosque of Omar Bin Al Khattab Minaret which was established in 16AH and remains one of the best examples of early Islamic architecture anywhere in the region.
As with many desert areas, it can get very cold here, with night time temperatures in the winter dropping to freezing on a regular basis.
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