This appears no less than a fairy tale where a castle rises out of the desert sand looking like it had been dropped there.
This strange building which is comprised of massive stones is situated in the golden desert of northern Saudi Arabia.
It appearance is spectacular in contrast to its rough surface.
This wonderful yet strange building in the middle of nowhere will make anyone curious enough to raise certain questions like: ‘Who built it and why?’ & ‘How long has it been here looking out over the empty desert?’
This castle has been named Qasr al-Farid which means ‘a lonely castle’ and was built during the pre-Islamic Nabatean Kingdom in the first century.
This masterpiece is situated in Mada’in Saleh alias Al- Hijr or Hegra which is also home to over a hundred similar monuments in the area.
Mada’in Saleh was considered as the second largest city and a major trading centre in the past.
The architectural layout and planning of this area shares striking similarity with the carved city of Petra now in modern –day Jordan which was also the capital of the Nabatean kingdom. All very interesting!
According to detail analysis by some experts it has been revealed that Qasr al-Farid is actually a tomb.
Another interesting fact about this monument is that is appears to be unfinished.
This will help us to understand the architectural patterns of the Nabatean era where massive stones were considered a major component of their construction.
They generally use single pieces of sandstone which are carved from the top down.
Its design and decor shows an amalgamation of Egyptian, Hellenistic and Assyrian styles and the size of the tomb reflects the individual status in the social hierarchy.
The Qasr al-Farid is considered to be the largest of the 131 tombs located in this area.
Can you believe that even after odd 1900 years, Qasr al-Farid is still able to maintain a similar impression of awe as it did the day it was built?
Thanks goes to the dry climate which helped in sustaining its ‘timeless beauty’. It is simply ‘awesome’. No second thoughts about this!
Now Qasr al-Farid became a popular tourists hub and the whole archaeological site has been awarded the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So what are you waiting for?
Pack your bags and set out to explore this majestic monument for yourself and who knows, you might be fortunate enough for it to reveal some intriguing stories just for you.
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