The Incense Road Header

 Stops on the
Incense Road
 
Gaza(Jenysos)
Elusa
Ruheiba
Obodat
Wadi Fiqreh
Wadi Arabah
Sela
Rekem, (Petra)
Ayl
Gryn
Hawara
Wadi Rumm
Al Uyaynah
Northern Desert Trek
Tayma
Meda'in Saleh
Dedan
Khaybar
Medina
Southern Desert Trek
Najran
Sa'ada
Yathul
Marib (Saba)
Timna (Qatraban)
Shibam(Hadramaut)
Ubar
 
Further Information
Camels
The Incense Sea Route

Najran

Najran was an important stopping place on the Incense Road. It is located in the southern part of Saudi Arabia. The oasis of Najran has been inhabited for about 4,000 years. Najran's most prosperous trading time was during the first and second centuries B.C. In ancient times it was known as Al-Ukhdood.

Old Najran was surrounded by a circular wall, 220 by 230 meters, built of square stone with defensive balconies. It contained several unique buildings. There is also a cemetery south of the external wall. Excavations of this site have uncovered glass, metals, pottery, and bronze artifacts. Square and rectangular buildings have also been found. There used to be a Jewish community at Najran, known for the garments they manufactured. Later many people in Najran converted to Christianity. They later yielded to Islam in AD 630/631.

Historical artifacts in the area include rock drawings and inscriptions including petroglyphs of human and animal figures, South Arabic epigraphy and early Arabic Kufic inscriptions. Of particular interest is the city of Al Okhdood, south of Najran city. This large sand-covered fortress gives the impression that it once possessed high perimeter walls built with giant stones similar to those used in building the famous Egyptian pyramids. Najran's landmarks include the "Rass" stone, a 2-meter-high granite stone.

Survey teams of the Saudi Ministry of Antiquities investigated most of the area and have documented several pre-Islamic and early Islamic sites, which consist of stone structures, cairns, tumuli, camping stations, praying places or mosques, water reservoirs, and wells. Some of these are still in use today. There is evidence on an ancient roadway. Some parts of the paved track are still preserved in the hilly areas. Archeological evidence suggests that the Incense Route was probably established prior to the first millennium BC and continued to be in use, both as trade and pilgrimage route until the late Islamic period.

Today Najran is an important agricultural city in Saudi Arabia.