Al-Ola (1)

Al-Ola lies at the end of the Wadi al-Qura, 240 miles (380 km) north of the Holy City of Madinah to which it is administratively affiliated.

Al-Ola is a small city with relatively few citizens but it is a location of special interest to archaeologists and historians because it contains many antiquities, some of which date back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and some to even earlier periods. The area contains much evidence of earlier civilizations, including Minean, Lihyanite and Dedanite inscriptions. At Al-Khuraybah, carved in to the mountain rocks, are tombs dating back to pre-Islamic civilizations.

The old name of Al-Ola was Dedan. Dedan was one of the largest and most important centers of ancient civilization, lying on the main incense and perfume trade route from India and the Yemen in the south to Egypt, Iraq and Syria in the north. Caravans from as far away as the south east of Africa and the south west of Asia made their way to and through Dedan. The town of Dedan reached its highest point during the Nabataean period when it was elevated to the position of the Nabataeans' second capital.

It was in the early Islamic period that the name Al-Ola became more common.

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Modern avenue in Al-Ola Click to view high resolution version

Modern avenue in Al-Ola

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