August 13, 2014

Madain Salih, Saudi Arabia

Photograph by John Stanmeyer, National Geographic

A pre-Islamic people, Nabataeans carved palatial tombs at Madain Salih. In 2008, UNESCO named Madain Salih a World Heritage site, making it the first destination in Saudi Arabia to receive the title. Writer Paul Salopek, one of the first travelers in a century to walk through the surrounding Hejaz desert, encountered a fabled past of caravans and pilgrims, of empires come and gone.

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