Jurash: Secrets of one of Saudi Arabia’s most important archaeological sites revealed

Jurash, near Abha in the southwest Asir region, is one of the most important archaeological sites in the history of the Arabian Peninsula. (SPA)
Updated 09 December 2018
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Jurash: Secrets of one of Saudi Arabia’s most important archaeological sites revealed

  • Unearthed relics date back thousands of years; Rock carvings confirm site’s ancient roots
  • Jurash was an important city in the pre-Islamic era, playing a cultural and economic role due to its industries

JEDDAH: Two mountains guard Jurash: Mount Hamouma to the east and Mount Shakar to the west.

Jurash, near Abha in the southwest Asir region, is one of the most important archaeological sites in the history of the Arabian Peninsula, with excavation teams unearthing relics dating back thousands of years. 

It was famed for manufacturing weaponry, including catapults and war machines that could be described as tanks, as well as being a rest stop and meeting point due its trade route location.

Jurash was an important city in the pre-Islamic era, playing a cultural and economic role due to its industries, and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has been exploring the area for almost a decade.

A soon-to-be-open visitors center will feature a main hall where archaeological findings, photos, maps, drawings and presentations about Jurash and its history will be on display. There will also be a VIP lounge, staff areas and public facilities for tourists.

Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has reported that rock carvings found in Jurash — such as a lion pouncing on a bull — are proof of the city’s ancient past.

Ghaythan bin Ali bin Jurais, a history teacher at King Khalid University, told SPA that historical and archaeological sources showed that Ahad Rafidah and the area around it were known as Mikhlaf Jurash. Jurash ruins were still visible in Ahad Rafidah city even now, he added.

“Based on early sources, the number of industries was limited. The leather industry flourished greatly and Abu’l-Fida and Ibn Al-Mujawir talked about this industry’s good quality that helped it become famous outside the Arabian Peninsula, until this leather became famous in foreign markets such as Iraq, Persia, the Levant and others.”

Mikhlaf Jurash was renowned for its warfare industries, SPA quoted bin Jurais as saying. It manufactured tanks: Wooden machines covered with cowhide that men would ride near besieged fortresses.

Wealthy citizens from Makkah, Taif and elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula flocked to Jurash to learn about these goods so they could protect themselves and their assets. 

There were figures from the Prophet Muhammad’s time (peace be upon him), Urwah ibn Mas’ud and Ghailan ibn Salamah, who lived in Jurash to learn about catapults and tanks during the siege of Taif, bin Jurais was reported as saying, reinforcing the city’s historical significance.


Saudi Arabia calls on Qatar to allow its pilgrims to perform Hajj

Updated 52 min 21 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia calls on Qatar to allow its pilgrims to perform Hajj

  • The ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage
  • Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has created a new webpage for Qataris who wish to perform the pilgrimage this year.
Qatari Hajj pilgrims can register their details, browse packages and pay for them at: https://qh1440.haj.gov.sa

The ministry called on Qatar not to block the webpage as it did previously and “cooperate in order to allow its citizens to perform Hajj easily.”

Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups.

The embargo includes transport restrictions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but the Kingdom has taken measures to ensure pilgrims from Qatar can travel freely for Hajj and Umrah.

The ministry said on Saturday it had taken several steps to ensure pilgrims could enter Saudi Arabia for for Hajj, which starts next month. But the ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage.

Following a recent meeting with a Qatari delegation to discuss the logistics of pilgrims from the country arriving in the Kingdom, the delegation from Doha left without signing any agreements to enable access for it citizens, according to the ministry.

In response to Doha’s actions, the statement said that Qatari pilgrims could complete their applications upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.