Friday, 22 May 2015

Ushaiger Heritage Village near to Riyadh

Ushaiger village is located about 180km outside of Riyadh and is one of the oldest mud villages in the region of Najd. The specialty of the village is the fact that a few of the local families, have renovated the old buildings in their town, to preserve its history, culture and heritage. They did so without the aid of any government authorities and paid for the renovation from their own pockets. The literal translation of the name of the village means “the little blonde” and was named after the red mountain that stands adjacent to the mountains. The first inhabitants who settled here had settled here 1500 years ago and had served as a pit stop for pilgrims on their way to Hajj.

Those who wish to visit Ushaiger have to drive out for around one and a half hours from Riyadh. The activity can take up your whole day so plan your trip accordingly. Visitors wander around the streets and endless alleyways. The village also consists of mud houses, a marketplace, a museum and two schools. Along with these the village has many beautiful mosques as well as a heritage house, some of which are still being used. The village is surrounded by ancient farmlands and an oasis, which the local residents have turned into a water collection and irrigation system. The reason behind this was to provide the surrounding villages with water.

The local people of Ushaiger are known for their friendly nature, and one can truly experience Saudi hospitality to the fullest over here. The local can be viewed lounging on the benchesand reading the newspaper. The villagers are extremely helpful towards any tourists who visit the village. Visitors are even invited into the renovated mud houses where they are served dates and Arabic coffee. Guests are even invited to join the locals for dinner.These mud and saw houses have beautiful interiors, which have great detail and architecture; here the true feel of the history of the area can be experienced. The house is naturally lit and is often comprised of open air roofs. The distinctive triangle windows are synonymous to Ushaiger style. The atmosphere inside the houses is made even more mysterious by the fireplaces and the antique lanterns.

The village also consists of a small outdoor restaurant, which is located near the entrance that overlooks the oasis of palm trees and creates a pleasurable ending to the day. It is advised by other visitors to drive up the mountain for a beautiful and breathtaking view of the village below. Ushaiger village is a beautiful, serene and peaceful place and makes for an enlightening and a humbling experience.

Anyone who visits the village must look around the museum which has been set up by the villagers and the museum keepers are more than happy to show you around the museum. The museum is stocked with historical artifacts, the details of which are explained in length by the museum keeper. Along with artifacts the village has a superb collection of old abayas and traditional clothing.

GPS Coordinates of Ushaiger Heritage Village: 25.3391268,45.1938037

The above content was initially published on Blue Abaya

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