Travel just 24 kilometers from Al-Baha and you will find yourself in a dramatic landscape that looks like it’s been ripped straight out of the pages of “The Lord of the Rings.”
The Marble Village of Dhee Ayn is a 400-year-old stone settlement built on top of a white marble hill. The construction technique used in the buildings is rather unusual; they are made from flat stones stacked on top of each other, which gives them a “flaky” texture and appearance that makes it look like they simply erupted from the ground.
The height of the buildings, which include mosques, ranges from two to seven floors. The distinctive structure and discipline evident in the architecture suggests that the village was ahead of its time. While exploring the village along its narrow pathways, however, care must be taken as the passage of time has taken a toll on some of the buildings.
If the village is extraordinary in its own right, then its surroundings are the cherry on top of the cake, with the marble hill upon which it is built surrounded by lush vegetation, including an abundance of banana trees, which makes the drive up to the village incredibly scenic.
The village is named after Dhee Ayn, a spring that runs through it to the thick trees at the base of the hill. This nature-rich environment means that the area is also home to a wide variety of wildlife.
The village has recently grown in popularity as an attraction, both for locals and tourists. It is easy to see why, as it seems to be surrounded by an aura that silently evokes thoughts of the people who once lived here, and the wars that were fought in the area, as the village experienced many tribal battles before the unification of the Kingdom.
It can get cold during the winter in Ayn but in the summer it is perfect, with sunrise and sunset offering views that will take your breath away. The off-white mountain, the brown-stone buildings and the green trees combine to create a beautiful, colorful palate that can inspire the artist in us all.
For those interested in history, the village is a treasure trove of information about architecture and the people who built it — the ancient building blocks, literally, that help shaped modern construction techniques.
All of this makes Dhee Ayn the perfect place to spend some quality time away from the hassles of city life.