12 October 2013
We want to start our day early. There is so much that we want to see as yesterday was a long day in the car. Our previous experience of Tabuk was only getting to the border before entering Jordan October last year. We are expecting very much excitement with this trip as we dedicated our one week holiday exploring these two northern region which are full of archeological history and red sea beauty.
Some interesting findings on Tayma, "Recent archaeological discoveries show that Tayma has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. In 2010, the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities announced the discovery of a rock near Tayma bearing an inscription of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses III. This was the first confirmed find of a hieroglyphic inscription on Saudi soil. Based on this discovery, researchers have hypothesized that Tayma was part of an important land route between the Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula and the Nile Valley." - source from wikipedia
Our first location for today is Haddaj Well. Following our GPS, we reach Haddaj Well in no time....just about 10 minutes from our hotel. We drove into small roads with dates farm at both roadsides. The view of dates farm so near to us was a great feeling. Moreover with the ripe season currently on-going, we can see do much dates hanging from the tree. The smell of the fresh urban air was great as well. It reminds us of our sweet hometown back home...the greens.
Driving along the greens sure boost the spirits…feels like back home
Dates and arabian land…can’t be seperated…
There wasn't any people seen around except a guy who was sweeping in front of his shop not far from the well. The area was gated and lock. We were frustrated not able to see from near. After asking the guy who was sweeping earlier, he told us that the site is closed. When we asked whether it opens or not, he just told us no. With no luck, we assume that the place is closed like most other historical places in Saudi which were normally not open for public..whether they leave as it is with no caretaker or just lock it where people just look from outside.
Not to dampen our mood, we drove around to enjoy the view and the smell of dates farm. After enough sight seeing, we decided to head to the museum of Tayma not far as well from the area. About 5 minutes drive, we reach the Museum of Antiquies and Archeological of Tayma.
We felt relief finding out the museum was open. At least we could find some useful knowledge for our family after not able to enter the Haddaj Well. We were welcome with a smile in the museum. The museum was very informative with the ancient history of Tayma. They serve us with history from the beginning of the Modern Stone Age(from the 10th and the 4th millennium BC), then the Bronze age, the Iron age, the Islamic Era until this modern days. There is too much information for us to absorb with this very short time. We are lucky that our kids likes the museum as well. The museum showroom were very well display with photography, painting and archeological displays. We were actually impress a small town in Saudi could have a very well organise showroom.
At the museum…luv it. Wish have whole day to absorb everything..
Once finished with our tour, they offered us with Tayma dates and Arabian coffee. A very warm welcome by them. Alhamdulillah, one of the guy could speak some English. They gave us so many brochures that excite us more in exploring Saudi. Never knew that there were so many attractions that we could explore after looking into the brochures. Luckily we visit the museum, we only knew that Haddaj Well was opened to Public. We were just there too early. It is only opened at 9.30 am. We wish they could hang at the gate of the opening hours for visitors to aware of the opening time.
Once we reach there at around 10 pm, we were the first visitor to come. WE were impress of the architectures and the water inside the well. There were even fishes inside the well! WIth the brochures in hand about the history of Haddaj Well, the visit was worthwhile.
This well is thought to date back to the 6th century B.C. It was rebuilt more than once through its history. It is also one of the biggest archaeological wells of the world. It is 13 meters deep and 250 sq metres.
More than 50 years ago, while restoring Haddaj Well, the discovery of an older wall made of reddish and very eroded stones proved that the well was much larger than what it is now.Thanks to this well, agriculture was one of the main activities in Tayma, especially growing palm trees. It also could provide enough water for 77 camels to drink at the same time. The source of the water is a spring in the south-western corner of the well. This well is still providing water for the neighboring farms through 31 canals.
From http://saudi-archaeology.com/sites/tayma/ : Bir Haddaj, located at Tayma, is one of the most famous wells from ancient times and is an outstanding architectural landmark for the region. The well is known to date back at least to the middle of the 6th century BCE, during the Babel occupation. In the 5th century BCE, all of Tayma was abandoned and buried, so the well fell into disuse for many centuries until Suleiman al-Gonaim restored it to a functional state. In 1373H (1953), King Saud, May Allah Bless His Soul, added four pumps to increase production and help local farmers to obtain sufficient water for their crops. Its various parts have been repaired through the decades, and His Royal Highness Prince Fahad bin Sultan bin Saud has authentically restored it to its previous appearance.
At the entrance which was closed at first…
Haddaj Well….surrounded by dates farm
Archaeological well thought to date back to the 6th century B.C.
It is 13 meters deep and 250 sq metres…very deep indeed…with fishes as well
Not long while we were still exploring the well, a few people starts coming in for visits. We felt happy actually to see other people coming in especially seeing the locals appreciating the historical heritage as we can learn a lot for our future generations from history.
As the kids also had enough time running around ;-)...its time for us to fill in our stomach. Not knowing any good food around, we tried to find any fast-food available and only able to bump into Tazaj. It was the only known fast food available in the GPS. Feeling full and energetic, we continue to our next destination which was Tabuk Fort. There were other historical site that we just knew from the pamphlet but unlucky we had no idea of their whereabouts. Again, we reach the fort at the wrong timing as it is only opened after Asr. Well...at least we have reach there and we were happy to see that the fort was very well preserve. An act that the Saudi Government should have long done to their other valuable historical sites.
Tabuk Fort…only opened after Asr
It was a great day and the visit to the museum really inspired us to explore Saudi. We didn't know that Saudi actually have so much attractions to offer. We hope the brochures on Saudi Tourism and Heritages could be distribute widespread, easily. We really thank the people at the museum for their hospitality and the plenty of brochures they provide us.
Tayma do have really interesting miniatures and beautiful landscape..able to snap part of it
We were running out of time as Tabuk is still nearly 300 km ahead or to proceed to Madaen Shuaib city in Al Bad' which is further up nearer to the gulf of Aqaba. As we will be heading to Jouf which require us to go through Tabuk, we we decided to go ahead running along the costal of Red Sea which will cover Maqna and Duba. Without waiting until Asr for its opening hour, we continue our journey to Al Bad' which takes us another 500 km of travelling.
When evening starts darken we were already in the middle of a highway within valleys of a high rocky mountains. We were not sure of which road we have taken but it was a small winding one lane road highland valley. The view must be spectacular if it was during daytime. Thinking of the dark and lonely road freak us actually thinking of if anything happened, what will we do in this lonely area with no passers-by. We pray may Allah protect us along our way till we reach our destination.
After a long stretch of more than 100 km lonely road, we finally reach a small town. We couldn't find any rest area or restaurant for our break. From the GPS, hotels and restaurants keep on giving us options of places in Egypt. The closest is only to Duba which we need to turn back.
Not to waste our time, we continue driving to Al Bad' hoping to find a hotel there which at the end a failure as well. Asking people around at the gas station also gave us a bad news. Will we be camping by roadside then??? With a little bit of hope, we tried to enter the Madaen Shuaib hoping there will be a guesthouse as probably there will be a few number of tourist interested to visit the place.
Alhamdulillah, after a small hope given by one guy at a petrol station telling us they should be one further at Bad' town, we continue to drive following the signboard entering the town. At the end we find the hotel....the one and only for SR200/night. It was a big room actually...two bedroom, living room and kitchen. The living room was ok as they place an arabian seats but the bedroom was scary. Haha..not because it was dark but the bed sheet looks so old and dusty gust a scary feeling of whether we should sleep or not on the bed.
At the end the kids decided to sleep outside along the arabian seats which was enough for all of them. With no option, me and my husband had to sleep on the bed but we didn't dare to use the bed sheet. Haha..it sure was a memorable night staying in a hotel like this. Nevertheless, we are grateful for the experience we had. There is always a good thing of any events that happened in our life. One thing for sure, everyone remembers this hotel out of all the hotels that we have stayed so far! ;-)
Let see what's more ahead waiting for us tomorrow!
Maassalamah. – tw&