Nestled between Mount Shammer to the north and Mount Salma to the south, the city of Hail was once the capital of the entire Arabian Desert. It is home to legends like Hatim Tai, the Arabian poet whose altruism earned him his place in the “Tales of One Thousand and One Nights”.
Today Hail is the capital of the northern region and remains an essential point on the pilgrimage trail of Islam. The city is renowned for hosting major international events, including the January Desert Festival celebrating local culture and the Hail International Rally, when rallying cars, quads and motorcycles race through the Nafud Desert. Adventurers particularly enjoy camping, dune bashing among these sands.
The city itself has some impressive sites including the Barzan and Al Qishlah Castle and the A’arif Fort located atop a mountain peak with commanding views of the city. In addition, the city’s Souq’s and market provide excellent insight into desert life.
Critically Hail is also the gateway to the red sands of the Al Nafud Desert and Jubba, the site of some incredibly well-preserved rock art, inscriptions and petroglyphs that trace human habitation 10,000 years back. These UNESCO World Heritage protected carvings depict men rearing cattle and hunting wild animals that ibex, big cats, possibly lions, ostrich and others.