‘al fared palace’ by Mohammed Assiri
/// Nabataean city, Saudi Arabia
Rock hewn Qasr al-Farid tomb at Nabataean city.
On an arid plain in northern Saudi Arabia, the forlorn figure of Qasr al-Farid, “the Lonely Castle,” rises four stories tall not far from the center of the ancient Nabataean city of Hegra. Despite its fanciful modern name, Qasr al-Farid is a tomb, albeit an unfinished one, cut out of a sandstone outcrop sometime in the first century A.D. It is one of 93 such monumental tombs carved here during the heyday of the Nabataeans.
Beginning in the second century B.C., these Arabic-speaking nomads dominated the long-distance caravan trade that brought incense and aromatics from South Arabia to the Mediterranean, eventually growing wealthy and settling in a network of cities that featured Hellenistic architecture. Besides developing a writing system that eventually became the Arabic script, they are best known for their…
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