There is an amazing new Unesco World Heritage site in Saudi Arabia
Get there before the crowds do…
Saudi Arabia has found its way onto this year’s list of new Unesco World Heritage sites (the list now numbers 1,199 sites in 168 countries), as announced by the Saudi Press Agency.
Enter Uruq Bani Ma’arid Reserve. Located in the Kingdom’s southwestern desert, this marks the Kingdom’s first Unesco Natural Heritage Site on the list.
The decision – announced by Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, the Saudi minister of culture – was revealed during the extended 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh between September 10 and 25.
Saudi Arabia’s new heritage treasure
The Uruq Bani Ma’arid Reserve is situated along the western edge of Ar-Rub al-Khali, The Empty Quarter. It is known for its unique vistas, diverse wildlife and eco-tourism offerings.
Occupying an area of over 12,750 square kilometres, it is the only significant sand desert in tropical Asia and the largest continuous sand sea on Earth.
It showcases the environmental and biological evolution of flora and fauna in Saudi Arabia. It provides vital natural habitats for the survival of more than 120 indigenous plant species, as well as endangered animals living in harsh environments, including gazelles and the only free-ranging herd of Arabian Oryx in the world.
The inclusion of the Uruq Bani Ma’arid Reserve adds to the six other Saudi Unesco sites, which are Al-Ahsa Oasis, At-Turaif District in ad-Diriyah, Historic Jeddah, Al-Hijr Archaeological Site, Rock Art in the Hail Region, and Ḥima Cultural Area.
Go now before everyone else does…