Asir… The First Saudi Tourist Destination

Asir, The Summer Capital of Saudi Arabia

Located in the southwestern part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Asir Region has achieved a high level of growth and succeeded in implementing the development plans, under the directives of the Kingdom’s leadership that aim at making Asir Region lives up to the expectations of the Saudi people.

Asir Region is blessed with attractive nature and weather, making the region a major destination for national and international visitors throughout the year. In light of its nature and tourist attractions, Asir Region started developing the concept of tourism industry four centuries ago.

Why to spend your Summer in Asir?

Asir Region, during summer season, features famous parks such as Al-Saudah, Al-Fara’a, Dalgan, Al-Habla, and Bllahmer, Ballasmer and Rijal Almaa forests, and other natural sites scattered along Asir Region.

As a fact, Asir Region is known for its unique heritage, valleys and forests. The region has long-standing ruins spanning thousands of years, such as Jorash, Tabalah, Al-Abla, Darb Al-Feel and other famous archaeological sites.

Compared with other regions of the Kingdom, Asir Region is distinguished with its rainy spring weather during summer season. The temperature in August does not exceed 25°C. The Region has natural high mountains, and enjoys great services provided by the Saudi Government. The Region has advanced infrastructure and large tourist facilities. The visitors have a wide range of places to visit in the Region with affordable prices.

Cable cars in Abha city
Cable cars in Abha city

The modern technologies have contributed to the discovery of tourist treasures in Asir Region. One of these technologies is the cable cars that can take the tourist in an exciting tour to see the historical and tourist areas in the Region. The visitor can reach the place of these cable cars easily at Al-Saudah Park, the Green Mountain, and Al-Habla historic village.

2019 Summer Programs and Activities in Asir

The government and private agencies prepare plans every year to overcome the difficulties facing the visitor. This year, the government and private agencies concluded the preparations for holding the activities of Tourist Season 2019. The Region’s Tourism Development Council approved Activities Program for this year under the theme “Most Welcome to Asir Region“.

Asir, The Summer Capital of Saudi Arabia
Asir, The Summer Capital of Saudi Arabia

This year’s summer programs include a variety of artisans’ bazaars and sport events such as Asir Rally, hiking and marathons. Abha Literary Club will also participate with 50 activities, including cultural nights, exhibitions and cinema. He also said that four concerts will be held on Talal Maddah Theater at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Abha and two concerts in Namas Governorate. These concerts will be held by a number of Arab prominent singers. Dr. Al-Humaidi confirmed the keenness of Asir Region Governor on the success of summer activities.

The historical village of Al-Muftaha

The historical village of Al-Muftaha
The historical village of Al-Muftaha

The historical village of Al-Muftaha in the center of Abha is one of the significant heritage villages. The 260-year-old village welcomes its visitors for many years to present its architectural art, heritage and tradition. It incorporates adjoining houses along the internal and external passageways built according to Asir Region’s traditional construction style. It is distinguished by the small openings and thick walls. Al-Muftaha Archaeological Museum is located in the center of the village. The three-story museum dates back to 150 years and is now one of the attractions of the historical region of Asir visited by national and international visitors. It exhibits many handicrafts and traditional industries in the region such as metal casting, gold and silver crafting, blacksmithing, carpentry and engraving. It also exhibits the distillation methods and techniques for roses and Kady flower, which are famous to be cultivated in Asir Region since ancient times.

Shada Palace

Shada Palace
Shada Palace

“Shada Palace”, built in 1930, is opposite to Al-Muftaha village from the eastern side. It is one of the largest museums in Asir Region. It is located in the middle of Abha city, next to the building of the Asir Region Principality. It is an old four-story building with a traditional museum on the heritage of the region.

Bin Adwan Heritage village, North of Abha City
Bin Adwan Heritage village, North of Abha City

Located north of Abha city, Bin Adwan Heritage village is one of the largest heritage projects in the region. It contains a museum of 12 sections in various fields, as well as an agricultural museum, a heritage hotel for the village guests, hills, traditional yards and places allocated for events. In Al-Namas province, there is Al-Maqar tourist village, which is one of the villages of modern tourist villages in terms of idea and design. It occupies an area of 1300 square meters above Sarawat Mountain

Rijal Almaa Village

Rijal Almaa Village
Rijal Almaa Village

Rijal Almaa village is located in Tihama part of Asir. It is one of the most important heritage villages in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the significant attractive destinations. The village is visited by more than 50 thousand visitors throughout the year.

Rijal Almaa Village
Rijal Almaa Village

Its architectural heritage is distinguished by high stone buildings, which reach a height of seven stories. The village contains Rijal Almaa heritage archaeological museum established by an initiative of the local inhabitants in 1405H to save their regional heritage.

Al-Khalaf Village

Located in south of Asir Region, Al-Khalaf village is one of the antiquity treasures with particular significance in history. It has been lately selected to become a heritage village from among more than five thousand villages and settlements in Asir Region. Al-Khalaf village is among the finest examples of the region’s traditional forms of architecture where accuracy in implementation, strength and ability to endure natural elements are altogether combined.

A visitor can obviously see a village-specific and quintessential in character due to its huge size, tall old adjoining buildings where more than 17 attached buildings form a continuous architecture with only one joint roof. The houses contain tunnels, lanes and many twists and turns with side openings along the way for illumination. This type of architecture is unique in Asir Region since it provided security to the village inhabitants in the past.

Al-Namas Museum
Al-Namas Museum

Al-Namas museum is one of the most important museums in Asir. It is located in the old neighborhood near old palaces and historical forts. The neighborhood is a magnificent architectural masterpiece dating back to almost 250 years. It consists of five stories and contains more than 2000 heritage pieces. Al Soufan museum is located in Lashaab village in Al-Namas governorate. It contains a large collection of historical pieces that are exhibited in a remarkable way in four large halls and an external open hall. The number of exhibited pieces at the museum is around 1200 pieces.

Folkolre in Asir Region

The National Saudi Al-Ardah Sword Dance
The National Saudi Al-Ardah Sword Dance

Folklore in Asir Region is considered as an original folk art and it has various names according to how they are performed. Folklore differ from one place to another in Asir Region. Many folk dances such as Alardha, Alkhtwa, Aldamah, Alkazwey and others have similarities in their component among tribes of Asir Region, however each one has its characteristic music and way of performance.

Alardha is a popular warriors dance known in ancient times. The dance is combined of chanting poetry and body movements of the dancers. The quick dancing is performed using rifles and heritage guns accompanied by drum beating and musical instruments such as “Alzalfa”, “Alzeer” and “Almezmar”.

Al-Qatt Al-Asiri

Al-Qatt Al-Asiri
Al-Qatt Al-Asiri

The elements of tourist attraction are not limited solely to nature, historical treasures, folklore or the traditional culture of individuals in the region. However, women have been able to create artistic works in which all its colors and tools have been inspired from nature and the surrounding environment. The women’s artistic works of painting have directly contributed in bringing about a taste of the past heritage.

The women artists have gone beyond national and regional boundaries as they achieved a great success in the Asiri wall decoration which is called locally as “Al-Qatt Al-Asiri” as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced in December 2018 to add “Al-Qatt Al-Asiri” art to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This art is not coincidental or it is born of the moment of the day, but it originated for many years and it is more than hundreds of years. Asir with its natural culture is aware of its concept and its details. The best evidence of this is the houses of the old and the new ones, which still witness their ruins, creations that are shaped in paintings and murals with engravings and attractive colors created by women of Asir.

Different Parks in Asir

Asir National Park

Asir National Park
Asir National Park

In Abha city, there is Asir National Park, one of the most important national parks that spread its wings in front of the first of its visitors who used to meet them every year. It is the first protected area for the plants and wildlife and the first national park in the Kingdom and covers an area of 455 thousand hectares, which is a system of parks under the name of “Asir National Park”.

Al-Souda Tourism Park

Al-Souda Tourism Park
Al-Souda Tourism Park

Al-Souda Tourism Park is located about 25 km west of Abha city and rises above sea level by more than 3000 meters. It has unique environmental characteristics, it has the highest rainfall in the Asir region and is rich in dense forests of juniper trees, high in the distribution of vegetation cover and its geographical nature between the flat land and the steep slopes by all the trees of juniper dark green due to the abundance of rain and high humidity in the region.

Al-Sahab Park

Al-Sahab Park
Al-Sahab Park

Al-Sahab Park considered one of the most important amusement parks in Al Saudah Park, and it is about 15 kilometers away from Al Saudah Park. It is located west of Al-Saqa Village on the branch road leading to Al Saudah Center. The park has a beautiful view of Tohama from the west and the surrounding villages to the east and like other parks there are many services needed by visitors. As for Sha’af Al Wemen Park is located in the south of the Sahab park and is characterized by dense forests, abundant shadows and a distinctive view of the city of Abha from the west.

Prince Sultan Park

Prince Sultan Park
Prince Sultan Park

Prince Sultan Park is located on an area of about 420 hectares and is 4 kilometers from Dalgan Park. The parts of these sites are divided between flat land and rocky hills. Prince Sultan Park overlooks Tohama, where the viewer can see steep slopes, steep valleys and sharp fractures of rock ledges. In addition, the location provides the necessary services like other parks, and the southeast parts of the city of Abha embrace Al Jara Park, which is about 40 kilometers from the city and is one of the important protected areas in the region.

Here is a clear indication that Asir is a world unique tourist destination, that’s worthwhile to visit.