The Conservative Heartland
The Date capital of the world that also holds the world famous camel auction
The region of Al Qassim is one of the most conservative in the country and is often overlooked. It is located at the heart of the country near the geographic centre of the Arabian Peninsula and is the richest region per capita in Saudi Arabia
It has more than 400 cities, towns, villages, and Bedouin settlements, ten of which are recognized as governorates. Its capital city is Buraidah, which is located on the edge of the Wadi Al-Rummah and is inhabited by approximately 60% of the region's total population. Its claim to fame is the infamous camel auction and boasts a fairly typical desert climate with dry heat in the summer and mild winters.
The Al-Qassim region hosts more than eight million palm trees, making it one of the Middle East largest producers of dates, producing an annual amount of 205 thousand tons of various types. In the late summer Buraidah also holds the world’s largest date festival.
Another site of interest is the town of Unaizah, historically an important stopping point for pilgrims coming from Mesopotania and Persia to Mecca. Here the architecture of the Souq Musawkf makes it one of the most attractive places to visit and has been referred to as The Paris of Najd. When driving from Riyadh to Buraidah you can also visit the stunning picture postcard mudbrick village of Ushaiger, one of the oldest towns in the area, another stopping point for pilgrims. Originally known as A'ekel but eventually changed to Ushaiqer. It was changed because the town is bordered by a small mountain north of the village. The mountain is red in colour, yet locals said it was blonde simply because red and blonde were used interchangeably in the old days. Ushaiqer means the "Small Blonde".
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