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On a honey-hued desert plain backed by the Hijaz Mountains, you might miss the wonders of Hegra, if you didn’t know they were there. Only recently open to the public and left practically undisturbed for 2,000 years, the incredibly well-preserved remains of rock-cut tombs, carved into huge boulders and rocky outcrops, are a new wonder of the world, and Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The second city of the Nabataean Empire after Petra in Jordan, Hegra was built around the 1st century AD. A crossroad on major spice and incense routes it became a thriving international trading hub until it was annexed by the Roman Empire and fell into steady decline. Carved into the desert rock, the tombs were reserved for the ‘elite’ such as healers, leaders and military figures, and many have beautiful inscriptions and stone carvings to admire. You can also see wells and stone lined water channels running through the complex, a testament to the advanced engineering to the Nabataean people.

Now that it has emerged from the sands of the desert, and time, seeing Hegra is surely going to be a must on many a bucketlist, and it’s easy to see why. 
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