The Oasis of Tayma

Tayma stood on a segment of the legendary “Frankincense Route”, one of the main trade routes of the Arabian Peninsula, linking southern Arabia with the eastern Mediterranean region. As confirmed first by written sources from the 1st millennium BC, and by the latest archaeological discoveries, the site maintained close economic, political and religious ties with all the regions of the Middle East before the Islamic era. Geographically speaking, Tayma is located at the crossroads of southern Arabia, Mesopotamia, the Levant and Egypt.

The last Babylonian king, Nabonidus (556–39 BC) made the oasis his residence during his campaign against northwestern Arabia, most likely during the third year of his reign. Tayma became the base from which he “came and went” between the main oases of the region.

Bir Haddaj Well of Tayma

The role of water as a resource for Tayma is illustrated to this day by Bir Haddaj, a well with a diameter of nearly 20 meters whose construction probably dates back to Antiquity and whose water was distributed throughout the oasis for irrigation purposes via a complex mechanism pulled by camels.

It is said that a specific song would instruct the camel to pull the water out of the well, and another song would instruct the camel to move back towards the well.

Al Naslaa, Tayma

The split rock of Al Naslaa can be found south of Tayma. It is a rather unusual rock, split in a near perfect symmetric cut. Each pieces stand on a very narrow base.

The difficulty of finding a natural explanation for this phenomena has led to numerous speculations of all kinds, as one could expect. It is however common to find split rocks in Saudi Arabia that can take very beautiful yet strange shapes.

The rock pictured below remains nonetheless fascinating. It is situated in the desert and access to it should be done with an all-terrain vehicle.

Petroglyphs on the split rock