The Heritage of Ushaiger (Why You Should Visit!)

A few months ago, we visited my husband’s brother who is working in Shaqra. It was a two-hour drive from Riyadh but it was well worth our time, not only because we get to see my brother-in-law (which is really a great thing) but also because we had an opportunity to FINALLY visit Ushaiger Village, one of the most popular historical villages in Saudi Arabia. I have always wanted to visit the place but its location made me re-think about visiting. I’m just glad we finally did because what’s being a resident of Saudi Arabia without seeing this wonderful piece of Saudi Arabia’s past?

The entrance to Ushaiger Heritage Village.

The entrance to the Ushaiger Heritage Village.

There are already many articles online about Ushaiger Village that this information might not be new to you. I’ll write them here anyway so you get the jist on why you should definitely visit the place. Ushaiger Village is one of the most beautiful restored historical village in the Kingdom. The heritage village is in the small town of Ushaiger that’s more or less 200 kilometers North West of Riyadh. If you’re going to Shaqra like we were, you need to traverse the Makkah Al Mukarramah Highway until you come to a huge intersection where you turn right towards the village of Dhurma. If you read my one quick road trip entry during the haj vacation, you’ll know what I’m writing about. Highway 505 and 50 are the roads to Shaqra and eventually, to Ushaiger. The other way is via King Khaled Road passing through Salbukh, Huraymila, and Al Qasab. Both ways are great options because roads are smooth and pretty much straightforward. More information, including map below this entry.

The walls with distinct patterns.

The walls with distinct patterns.

The courtyard near the entrance sign.

The courtyard near the entrance sign.

ushaiger-17

ushaiger-15

The ruins of he village

The ruins of he village

Ushaiger is one of the oldest town in the Najd region and it was once a major stopping point for pilgrims coming from Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran. The name “Ushaiger” came from the color of the mountain bordering the north of the village. The small mountain is colored red, which the locals interchange with “blonde” (it should have probably been brunette but what do we know about what they thought back then, haha). And so Ushaiger is the “small blonde.” Ushaiger is also known as the “Najd’s Womb” because of the number of well-known Islamic scholars and historians raised in the place, including renowned religious reformer Muhammed bin Abdul Wahab, Islamic scholar Sheikh Al-Othaimeen and many other poets and thinkers. Talk about “rich”in every sense of the word: rich in history, culture, tradition, and people skills and talents.

ushaiger-22

ushaiger-47

ushaiger-21

ushaiger-18

ushaiger-29

It’s amazing how the people of Ushaiger have chosen to preserve and restore the culture, heritage, and history of their place. Their commitment is astonishing and their hospitality is beyond amazing.

The Al Salem Museum

The Al-Salem Museum

When we arrived in the village, the day being the haj holiday, we weren’t really expecting for a lot of people to be around and small businesses to be open but the Al-Salem Museum just near the entrance was thankfully open for visitors that day. The person in charge of the museum that day welcomed us and he explained to us what the museum is about and also gave the stories of some of the notable items inside. It’s the perfect start to our wandering of the place. We paid SR 10 per person. Now, you might think that’s too much for just looking around but being a history junkie that I am, I easily let go of my riyals because the items in this museum are interesting! Some note-worthy stuff in the museum that either made us awed or laugh:

Jugs made of camel skin! These are ancient water containers, folks!

Jugs made of camel skin! These are ancient water containers, folks!

So apt nowadays because of the newly-released money bills and coins of KSA.

So apt nowadays because of the newly-released money bills and coins of KSA.

We tried to make this work. Lol.

We tried to make this work. Lol.

Hunting rifles?

Hunting rifles?

The love locks of Paris will be embarrassed with these! Haha!

The love locks of Paris will be embarrassed with these! Haha!

Jewelries that remind me of the Berber accessories of Morocco.

Jewelries that remind me of the Berber accessories of Morocco.

More accessories!

More accessories!

How they made dates

How they made dates

A soap that's hudred years old! Haha.

A soap that’s hudred years old! Haha.

Old biscuit tins from ARAMCO; so retro!

Old biscuit tins from ARAMCO; so retro!

A collection of soda bottles.

A collection of soda bottles.

Old lamps and electric fan?!? Haha!

Old lamps and electric fan?!?

The old matchboxes. Hehe.

The old matchboxes. Hehe. Look at those details!

We moved from one room to another marveling at all the artefacts and relics that are housed in this tiny house. It’s packed to the brim with pieces of history. It opened my eyes to the life of the Saudis long ago and that’s not easily discovered and seen in the Kingdom, as you might have come to know with your stay here. You know what confuses me? The fact that the wares, clothes, and things they had before were all colorful. When you think of Saudi today, it’s all black and white and a pop of color here and there. What happened? Haha! The nomads and bedouins of the desert sure knew how to have fun and bring colors and bling to their lives. Haha! 😉 I imagine the colors of these against the backdrop of the desert. My mind came up with glorious pictures!

A riot of colors on this carpet.

A riot of colors on this carpet.

The floral pattern is so popular during cultural festivals.

The floral pattern is so popular during cultural festivals.

A tapestry of colors

A tapestry of colors

How colorful are these containers, bowls, teapots, etc.

How colorful are these containers, bowls, teapots, etc.

Plates, and the huuge plates are for lamb kabsa and loads of rice!

Plates, and the huuge plates are for lamb kabsa and loads of rice!

Whoever owns these is one huge pack rat; I like that! Haha!

Whoever owns these is one huge pack rat; I like that! Haha!

The dummy of a girl on top looked creepy. Haha!

The dummy of a woman on top looked creepy. Haha!

Weighing scales in the old times.

Weighing scales in the old times.

Love the fire effects

Love the fire effects

More items with the old map of RIyadh

More items with the old map of Riyadh

Sofas in the middle for having qahwa.

Sofas in the middle for having qahwa.

We entered the mud village after we visited the museum hoping to visit the other traditional houses and smaller museums inside but they were closed for the holiday and even though there seemed to be people inside, we didn’t want to intrude. They will probably open up their houses for us because the people of Ushaiger are known for their warmth and hospitality. You can visit the Al-Omar House and Al Shenaher House and Museum next time you go there. You can also visit the Instagram page of Trath Ashiqr to see more vintage stuff. Anyway, we decided to discover the place on our own. We entered some mud houses and climbed their narrow, rickety stairwells to look at windows from a story high into the palm fields below. We walked along narrow alleys and got lost in its never-ending left and right.

ushaiger-44

ushaiger-36

ushaiger-45

ushaiger-43

ushaiger-42

ushaiger-41

ushaiger-40

ushaiger-39

ushaiger-38

Be careful in going up this place

Be careful in going up the mud houses

And in going down too.

And in going down too.

The view

The view

The ceiling of the covered alleys

The ceiling of the covered alleys

We also visited the courtyard of the mosque: pictures of that will mostly remind you of this place. Truly a walk in memory lane!

ushaiger-31

ushaiger-16

ushaiger-30

After roaming around the mud village, we went back outside and bought drinks from a bakala that just opened. Even their local stores are a marvel on their own. They have that step back in time feel to them. And while they have the usual junk food and sodas, they also have jars of candies and chocolates that are inspired by local designs. I love those! They look so retro! Their bottled  Coke (known to us Filipinos as the “Coke Sakto”) feels so in place in their ref.

ushaiger-27

This bakala is full to the brim!

This bakala is full to the brim!

Candies, gums, cheese curls, sodas, my kind of snacking place!

Candies, gums, cheese curls, sodas, my kind of snacking place!

Candies and chocolates in plastic jars

Candies and chocolates in plastic jars

They also have spices.

They also have spices.

Whew! I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with the photos. But you know what, no matter how many pictures I post about Ushaiger, you’ll likely find a new view to take photos of. We barely toured the place; just about a fourth of it I guess. I’m pretty sure there are more to see. So I leave that to you guys to discover. Go and visit Ushaiger Village, especially now that the weather is so nice! You’ll spend your time getting lost in the past and marvelling at how it brought about this present that we’re all walking in now. The photos you’ll take will be amazing: it will be portraits and landscapes of ruination and reconstruction. Of the forgotten and the found. Of loss but ultimately, also of hope.

Thank you Ushaiger for showing and teaching us a lot.

Ushaiger Heritage Village

Ushaiger, Saudi Arabia

Coordinates: 25°20′33″N 45°11′0″E

Google Map

MAP: 

Pink denotes the ways from Riyadh.

Pink denotes the ways from Riyadh. You can choose between Shaqra or Al Qasab. Or go via Shaqra to Ushaiger and come back via Al Qasab to Riyadh, or vice-versa.  I wrote about this route here too.

Around Riyadh Featured Inside KSA Travel

About Author

Janelle
Janelle

The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.

3 Comments

  1. idris mohideen Reply

    Hi!
    This is very nice article to know about heritage sites, can i share this article in my blog for indian readers?

  2. Wow! I’ve never heard about this place, Janelle! Amazing article and very educational!

Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!