Sunday, March 3, 2013

Raghba And The Rolling Sand Dunes

For a nice day trip out of Riyadh, the village of Raghbah North West of the city is worth a visit. The old mud village has some interesting buildings and architecture, an ancient mosque and a watch tower which is possible to climb up and admire the views down to the city and the magnificent mountains in the background.
This enchanting little mud village is located about 120 km outside of Riyadh and is easily accessible even with a small car. Nearby are date farms, red mountains and lovely rolling sand dunes that grow small bushes and other flora perfect for a picnic. In the rainy season small bodies of water gathers in the deep folds of the dunes.
Raghbah makes for a fun day trip from Riyadh and it's really easy to find because of the prominent watch tower. The ruins of this town (built in 1669) are vast and the visitor can take hours to explore all it has to offer.

Many of the houses can be entered and explored from inside. Some have interesting details and there is one building especially well preserved with amazing detail inside. There are also wells and ruins of castles and walls on the outskirts of the town. The town has historical significance, it plays a role in the Najd history and it was invaded and destroyed by the Turks in the 19th century.There are two mosques and the larger one is called the Al-Tali' mosque, which is, like all the other buildings here made out of mud and straw. It's worth going inside the mosque and checking out the courtyard, small well for wudu (washing for prayer) and the amazing prayer hall which is lit by natural sunlight.

 The most interesting part is the Marqab watch tower on the west side of the town. The tower is quite tall and surprisingly narrow! It's possible to climb the tower's spiral staircase all the way to the top to get a great view of the whole town and the beautiful mountains and sand dunes in the distance. The climb up takes time because the way there is extremely claustrophobic experience! Not for the faint at heart and only one person can go up at a time, otherwise you will get stuck.


On a clear day you can see the escarpment in the distance. Although the town has been long ago abandoned, some very poor families and maybe illegal immigrants still live there.

Nearby the town are beautiful sand dunes, reachable with a small car if you don't venture out too far. With a 4x4 it's worth driving further out for better views but in general this place is has few other people around.
 The sand dunes seem to continue endlessly.

Be careful when driving here there are sudden holes and there might be water in them too!

To get here from Riyadh, from exit 4 take the Qassim road (65W) until you get to the exit called Huraimila. Then continue until you see the sign for Raghbah. The drive takes about an hour. Drive until you come to the small village and you cannot miss the mud village on your left hand side because of the watch tower visible from the road. The village is not more than 200 meters from the main road. Turn left when you spot the tower and you can drive into the village from any place you see fit.

To get to the sand dunes just continue on the road that lead you to the mud village and the dunes are best on the right hand side.


11 comments:

Nabeel Khan said...

nice place. check this also 24.994239,46.20782.. its sadus town. a bit farther on the way to edge of the world.

Tara and Dale said...

Layla, Sounds like a lovely weekend trip. I was wondering...we live near Hofuf and is the site closer to us or on the other side of Riyadh? We are trying to see if it is doable for a weekend trip for us. Thanks so much. :)

Noor said...

Oh mashAllah how gorgeous I would love to go there.

KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ said...

Dear sister,
Iam realy sorry i used some of your images without your permission i hope as a muslima you forgive my mistakes and enshallah i will try my best to avoid this type of mistake in future i already deleted your images on my site.if your find any thing wrong pls tell me i will correct it.
wallah iam realy sorry you feel bad from my mistake and hope you will forgive me for my mistake.
thanks and ragards.

Layla said...

Thank you Nabeel for the info, we have drive past it but never stopped.Will do next time!

Layla said...

Tara and Dale!
I'm sure it would be doable for a weekend trip because even driving from Hofuf to Riyadh or vice versa is doable for weekend or one day if you leave early..You could easily spend the half day in Raghbah and then continue on to Ushaiger village or Shagraa a little further on.
Try to check the locations and distances and roads from google maps!

Layla said...

Khawaja-Thank you for your prompt response I really do appreciate it.
Of course I forgive you and trust you won't do it again :)
Thank you for being honest about it! I wish there were more people like you out there.

best wishes

Layla

Susie of Arabia said...

I love this post, Layla. I wish my hubby would take me out exploring to places like this! You are so lucky that your hubby does. The little village is so charming and I love all the detailing on the interior shots. Tre cool!

Layla said...

Thank you Susie! Well I have to agree my husband is really nice to take me he is such a sweetheart. He enjoys the outdoors too so we share a common interest!

Arezu In Wonderland said...

Very beautiful pictures.
Love the watch them.

XO Arezu

bigstick1 said...

Nice pics.