Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Hanging Village of Habalah in Asir Province, Saudi Arabia

Holidays are a must for every person after every short while. It helps us function more efficiently while also keeping stress levels reduced. People from all around the world make their way to both local and foreign destinations with their family or friends in order to take a break from the hustle bustle of their daily lives. Now if we talk about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular, several local Saudi families make their way abroad while there are few who actually venture into the lesser explored areas of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If you are one of those people in the Kingdom who would much rather explore a new part of your own country rather than going to one of the many clich├ęd tourist destination spots around the world, we have some good news for you.

Past Abha, AhadRafidah and KhamisMushait is a beautiful mountain village called Habala. The village has been named Habala, derived from the word rope in Arabic as in the past it could be only accessible by a rope ladder due to its terrain. It was known for its tribal custom of wearing garlands of flowers and dried herb as hair accessory and was commonly referred to as ‘flower men’. The people of Habalah were originally from the Ottoman setup and isolated themselves for trade, the used rope pulleys to exchange goods up and down the mountain

To promote the village as a tourist spot, in the early 1990s, cable carts were built to ease the transportation and to attract tourists to the traditional village and the beautiful mountain view, as a result of that, the locals of the village had to migrate to down the valley which was exclusively designed for them. Being patrons of their village, many refused to leave their home land and were forced to evacuate by the authorities and only allowed to participate in promoting the culture and tourism. Habalah is evidently a great example of how Saudi Arabia is trying to promote its traditional culture and art by encouraging tourism.

Apart from the cable cart, there are several scenic points to visit like towards the north side of Habalah, three pillars of rock stand away from the edge of the escarpment. According to myths, one of the rocks is shaped like Cleopatra’s needle and one who wishes to become a poet must spend an entire night there without becoming insane. The remaining two rocks are flat topped.

The village has been so modernized with new buildings and high end cafes and toilets that the ruins of the old, original infrastructure are hard to spot. They have events and special seasons to encourage locals to benefit from selling their handicrafts in terms of souvenirs for the tourists. The combination of the old terrain and infrastructure and the developed modern houses provides tourists with the best of both worlds. We highly recommend visiting the village at least once in order to further explore some of the lesser known parts of your country.

Places to Visit in Saudi Arabia
  1. Tourist Attractions in and around Abha
  2. A Virtual Journey to the Prophet’s Time (Virtual Museum in Makkah)
  3. Wadi-al-JINN – Does it really exist?
  4. Places to Visit in Madinah with GPS Co-Ordinates
  5. Al Wajh – The oldest Coastal City of Saudi Arabia in Tabuk Province


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