The oasis city of Ha'il has a rich history as a cross-roads and centre of trade for Assyrian, Babylonian and Levantine cultures, and today it’s still a popular destination. Its surrounding countryside is full of relics – stone circles, ancient tools and rock art.
The city itself is capital of the Ha'il province, and has a strong agricultural connection thanks to its water-rich location.
Top things to see and do in Ha'il
- If you’re visiting during March or early April, keep an eye out for the masses of demoiselle cranes, which land in Ha'il on their annual migration
- Try the local dates – they’re said to be some of the country’s best
- Follow the road to the top of Mount As-Samra, which is lit up at night and offers an impressive view over the city
- Browse for bargains at the Friday Market, a traditional-style souk
- Walk around the fortified adobe walls of Qishlah Fortress in the city centre
- Keep an eye out for the large fountain sculptures on the roundabouts as you travel across the city. There are coffee pots, incense burners and traditional water canteens, all several feet high
Tips for travellers
Head 100 km northwest to explore the ancient rock art at Jubbah, where there are 7,000-year-old carvings showing humans, dogs and long-horned buffalo. You can buy permits to visit the site from the Ha'il Museum.