Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography


The Sacred City from Glasshouse Media on Vimeo.


Below: View from the Naqab Escarpment near the Naqab fort

The South forts guarded Nabataean along this cliff. Farther inside Nabataean were two more forts, that aided in the fortification process.


Al Maraigha Fort

(Location: N 30 degrees, 06.670, E 035 degrees 32.095, Elevation 1403 meters)

Just west of the main highway that runs south of Ma'an to the city of Aqaba. In order to visit the fort, turn into the village of Al Maraigha and drive on the small road that passes through the center of town. Continue of his road for a couple of kilometers, and you will be able to see the fort on your left on the other side of the wadi. This fort is in a very ruinous state, but it is possible to view the Arab wall as it passes through the fort. This is an important location for dating the wall, as Nelson Gluek pointed out that stones from the wall were used to build the Roman part of this fortification. This helps us date the wall to pre-Roman times.

Above: Due to successive earthquakes over the centuries, the Mareigha fort is now a pile of rocks. You can clearly see the Arab Wall in the background.

Right: There are a number of impressive caves in and around the Mareigha Fort. Unfortunately we didn't have time to explore all of them.


Grayn Fort

(Location: N 30 degrees, 07.402, E 035; 28.882, Elevation 1,495 meters)

From the layout of the forts in the south of Nabataean, one would assume that the Grayn fort was probably the central fortification when it came to communication. This fort is set back from the escarpment by several kilometers. This gave the fortification the advantage that they could have a visual line of communication with the fortifications along the escarpment, as well as visual communication back to Al Mareigha fort and Ma'an as well as to the villages within Nabataea. The Grayn fort would not have been in the front line of defense, but rather it was an excellent command post where an officer could be in communication with all of the forts along the border. The Grayn location is also very suitable for holding large numbers of livestock, as it is close to productive fields, and to springs of water that flow year round. These springs are still the major source of water for the area to this day.

 As you approach from the south, the fort stands out on the hill.

 The silhouette of the fort shows us the poor condition of the walls.

As with all of these ancient forts, the walls and buildings have long since deteriorated. The left hand side of the fort still contains several rooms.

 It is possible to stand on top of a set of rooms and photograph the courtyard, as well as the surrounding hills.

From this vantage point it is possible to the Qarna fort on the far distant horizon. Communication with smoke or fire would have been possible. 

 From the fort it is possible to look back over the hills to the Ma'an oasis in the desert. Today the lights of Ma'an city are visible in the night.

Beside the Grayn fort is a lime pit. Here limestone rocks were placed around the outside of the pit, and a hot fire was built in the middle. After the limestone rocks were baked, they produced lime, which was used in the construction of water-proof cement.
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