Once a thriving international trade hub, the archeological site of Hegra (also known as Madain Saleh) has been left practically undisturbed for almost 2,000 years. But now for the first time, Saudi Arabia has opened the site to tourists. Astute visitors will notice that the rock-cut constructions at Hegra look similar to its more famous sister site of Petra, a few hundred miles to the north in Jordan. Hegra was the second city of the Nabataean kingdom, but Hegra does much more than simply play second fiddle to Petra: it could hold the key to unlocking the secrets of an almost-forgotten ancient civilization.A long, informative, and well illustrated article on one of the most important archaeological sites in Saudi Arabia. It is a major source of information on the ancient Nabateans, still relatively untapped. The Nabateans spoke Arabic, but wrote in Aramaic for commercial, government, and diplomatic purposes.
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