Saudi Arabia is home to five historical and archaeological sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as the two most important pilgrimage sites in Islam. The country is bordered to the west by the Red Sea and the east by the Arabic Gulf and boasts three cities with a population of more than a million people: Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca. The race ventures into the Asir region this year, home to Soudah Development a main partner of 2022 Dakar.
1 - JEDDAH
The tiny fishing village became the official port of Mecca in the 7th century. It then went on to become the second largest city in the country with a population of 3.5 million people and will soon be home to the tallest tower in the world!
2 - HAIL
The city of Hail has long been a stop on the trade route connecting the Red Sea to Mesopotamia. But the region is especially renowned for the many rocky panels covered with rock art, attesting to a human occupation of nearly 10 millennia.
3 - DIRIYAH
The town of Diriyah was the capital of the first Saudi State founded in 1744. The At Turaif historic quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4 - AL-HIJR SITE
The ancient city of Hegra was rediscovered at the dawn of the 20th century. The numerous monumental tombs carved in stone are rare proof of the Nabataean civilization.
5 - AL HASSA OASIS
The largest oasis in the world expands over 58,000km2, which is home to 600,000 4 5 people … and 2.5 million palm trees.
6 - THE GREAT MOSQUE OF MECCA
The first holy place of Islam is also its most important pilgrimage site. Since 2012, a more than 600-metre high tower has overlooked the mosque, with a capacity of 100,000 people.
7 - THE PROPHET'S MOSQUE OF MEDINA
Built in the 7th century, it was completely renovated and enlarged in the middle of the 20th century. The Great Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque welcome more than 10 million pilgrims each year.
8 - ASIR REGION
Soudah, within the Asir region, is situated 3,015m above sea level, the highest point in Saudi Arabia.
9 - ASIR NATIONAL PARK
Soudah, in the Asir National Park is for culture lovers, sports and adventure enthusiasts with mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, paragliding to name a few.
10 - ROJAL VILLAGE
Rojal village in Rijal Almaa is a popular tourist destination and received the distinction of “Best Small Village’ from The United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Soudah and the Asir region, in the southwest region of Saudi Arabia, offers unique mountainous landscape and an authentic cultural experience.