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

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.


Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi, president of Tabuk University

Updated 11 December 2019

Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi, president of Tabuk University

  • Al-Dhayabi began his academic career as a lecturer at KAU
  • Al-Dhayabi is a member of the higher committees for female colleges in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi has been the president of Tabuk University since October 2017.

Prior to that, he was the deputy head of educational affairs at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, where he served in the position for one year. 

He has also been the chairman of the promotion and job competition committee, as well as the safety committee, at Tabuk University since November 2012. 

Al-Dhayabi began his academic career as a lecturer at KAU, where he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of Science. 

He later traveled abroad to pursue his higher education, earning his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Missouri, US. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Birmingham, UK.

After that, he returned to the Kingdom and joined KAU as an assistant professor. He remained in that position from 2005 to 2010, then served as an associate professor between 2010 and 2014.

Al-Dhayabi is a member of the higher committees for female colleges in the Kingdom and the community colleges higher committee at the Ministry of Higher Education.

He congratulated King Salman on the release of the government’s annual budget for 2020.

“Approximately one-fifth of the budget is allocated to education, which reflects the leadership’s keenness to invest in the human element through education and training ... to open new horizons and job opportunities for Saudi youth and encourage them to invest in the diverse resources in the Kingdom,” Al-Dhayabi said.