The Development of Nabataean Madā’in Ṣāliḥ (Saudi Arabia) into an Attractive Sightseeing: From Traditional Rejection to Official Recognition

Virginia Cassola-Cochin


In recent years, major excavations and tourist development occurred in the archaeological site of Madā’in Ṣāliḥ known as the Nabatean ‘Hegra’, in north-western Arabia. If such a development would be quite familiar in several countries, its understanding within the Saudi context encompasses the study of several factors. The article takes the religious tradition Hegra is associated to as starting point to analyze the transformation of the Nabatean site into both a Saudi heritage landmark and an attractive tourist attraction. The description of the development of archaeological excavations and museums in Hegra and the surrounding al-‘Ulā leads to the conclusion that education and tourism advocate in favor of Nabatean legacy’s acknowledgment in Saudi Arabia.


Archaeology, heritage, Madā’in Ṣāliḥ, Saudi Arabia, tourism, museum

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