I’m at Al Ula in Northern Saudi Arabia. The main local attraction is the ancient city of Madain Saleh. This was the second city of the Nabateans, whose capital was at Petra, and there are many similarities to Petra.

There is nothing as grand as the Treasury at Petra, but there are scores of imposing and well preserved rock cut tombs.

Overall the site is very impressive and well worth visiting.

Al Ula is also set in a very scenic area, with stark rocks crags and pinnacles everywhere.

My Madain Saleh tour also included a stop for an “immersive” play. This was unexpectedly interesting: traders dressed as Nabateans gaped in surprise at us weird-looking foreigners and then tried to sell us things, then soldiers appeared, a fight broke out, etc. But the highlight was the reconstruction of a death scene and Nabatean funeral, including wrapping up the “corpse” of an actor and carrying him into an authentic Nabatean rock cut tomb!

I’m enjoying visiting Saudi Arabia. I hope the current social thaw persists.

Note: The Madain Saleh site is currently undergoing restoration and won’t be generally open to tourists until “later in 2020”. I was able to visit on one of the special tours running during the annual Winter at Tantora festival.