Madain Saleh isn’t as well-known as Petra, but the Nabateans’ second-largest city played a crucial role in their mysterious empire.
As always, our Saudia Airline flight from Riyadh to Medina started with prayer.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the flight attendant said over the intercom. “The text that you are about to hear is a supplication that the prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, used to pray before travelling.”
The rest was in Arabic. I listened to the record voice, low and ponderous, as I looked out the small window at the unending desert below. I was travelling with friends to Saudi Arabia’s hidden desert city of Madain Saleh. While many people have heard of Nabatean capital Petra in Jordan, Madain Saleh, the Nabateans’ second-largest city and a Unesco World Heritage Site, remains relatively unknown.