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Rock art in HimaNajran listed as Saudi Arabia’s sixth Unesco Site

5 Jul 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Cultural Rock Arts in HimaNajran has been officially recognised by Unesco as a World Heritage Site, during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee in Fuzho, China. The site, the sixth in Saudi Arabia to be enlisted, is home to one of the largest rock art complexes in the world. 

Located in Najran, in southwestern Saudi Arabia, Hima was a conduit for caravans on the trade and hajj routes going to and from the southern parts of Arabia to the ancient world markets of Arabia, Mesopotamia, the Levant and Egypt. People who passed through the area between pre- and post-historic times have left behind a substantial collection of rock art depicting hunting, wildlife, plants, symbols and tools used at the time, as well as thousands of inscriptions written in several ancient scripts, including Musnad, Thamudic, Nabataean and early Arabic.

The over 3,000-year-old site has the densest display of rock art in the world, with over 550 rock art paintings and inscriptions. The ancient Hima Wells provided fresh water to travellers who crossed the Arabian deserts thousands of years ago and still offer fresh water to the local community in the desert of Najran today.   

“We are thrilled to have this exceptional ancient site recognised by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. The area has outstanding universal value, providing us with many lessons about the evolution of human culture and life in ancient times,” said Dr JasirAlherbish, CEO of the Heritage Commission. “We are working to preserve the area and conduct research to further understand the rock inscriptions, and are looking forward to welcoming more local and international visitors to come and see this historic cultural site for themselves.”

 

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