Najran City Profile
Najran is a modern town and capital city of Najran province. Almost on the Yemeni border, in the south-west of the country, Najran is one of the most fascinating and least visited places in the kingdom. Set in a sprawling oasis, this area has been inhabited for about 4000 years, and was once a major stop on the frankincense route. Yemen's cultural influence is stronger here than anywhere else in the country - you can see it in the architecture, and in the outgoing demeanor of the Najrani people. Najran has one big main road, and the bus station, hotels, post offices and places to eat are all along it or close by.
Being the capital of Najran region, it is the headquarters of the Governor, local councils and branches of various governmental departments. Being an agricultural city, Najran is famous for its beautiful gardens and public parks. Peaches, apricots, apples, grapes, lemons and oranges are grown on a wide scale. It is surrounded by gardens and green trees and the charm of mountains; the highest one is Abu Hamadan Mountain which is 1450 meter.
Geography & Location
Najran is one of the Kingdom's most modern cities. It is bounded by Yemen to the south; Al-Silayel and Wadi Al-Dawasir to the north; Dhahran Al-Janoub and the Asir region to the west; and Oman in the east. Najran city is surrounded by orchards and trees and encircled by a range of Rocky Mountains, the highest of which is the 1450-meter-high Abu Hamdan Mountain. The area abounds in scenic views, particularly the Abi Al Rashras valley, one of the city's most important tourist landmarks, where water gushes through rocks to irrigate surrounding verdant areas. Other tourist attractions are the Wadi Nahouqa and Raoun Mountain.
About 280km east of Abha is Najran, one of the most interesting and least visited towns in the Kingdom. Close to the Yemeni border, it extends along the Wadi Najran and has been inhabited for about 4,000 years, most of that time spent as an important trading centre. The Yemeni cultural influence is very strong here both in architecture and in attitudes.
The climate is hot during the summer months with an average of 32 degrees Celsius and mild during the winter months. Temperatures in winter drop to an average of 6 degrees Celsius. It is rainy in the mountainous areas.
The oasis of Najran has been inhabited for about 4,000 years. Najran most prosperous trading time was during the first and second centuries B.C. The main activity of its habitats: agriculture and breeding cattle's.
Najran was a very important city in ancient history. It is mentioned in ancient passages and documents. Beta limos named it Nagva Metroplis which means its reputation reached Greece.
The most important and biggest civilization in the southern Arabian Peninsula is Al-Ukhdood (Najran). It is clear that the name (Al-Okhdod) is driven from the Holy Quran which concerned the death of the Christians under the rule of the Yemeni King Thou Nawas in 523.
One feature in Najran is an external circular wall, 220 by 230 meters, built of square stone with defensive balconies. It contains some unique buildings. There is a cemetery south of the external wall.
Ruins of glass, metals, and pots, bronze, and square and rectangular buildings were found.
Historical artifacts available in the area include rock drawings and inscriptions, particularly in the city of Al Okhdood, south of Najran city. This large sand-covered fortress gives the impression that it once possessed high perimeter walls built with giant stones similar to those used in building the famous Egyptian pyramids. Najran's landmarks include the "Rass" stone, a 2-meter-high granite stone.
Najran was the last important stop on the frankincense route before the caravans took either the eastern or western route. (The frankincense route was the ancient caravan route from the incense-producing areas of southern Arabia up through modern-day Saudi Arabia and into Jordan, Syria, Egypt and the whole Mediterranean basin).
Najran's most prosperous trading time was during the first and second centuries BC when it was known as Al-Ukhdood. It was known by this name when the Roman general Aelius Gallus captured it in 24BC. Around the year 250BC, the area came under the control of the Himyarites. During their ascendancy, the people were converted to Christianity which ultimately yielded to Islam in AD630/631.
There is a fort in Najran, the well of which is said to date from pre-Islamic times. The present fort dates only from 1942 but it does contain some of the most beautiful carved windows and doors, very colorful examples of this traditional Arabian art form.
Send E-mail to
TSN@The-Saudi.Net with questions or
comments about The Saudi Network.