Unquestionably one of the most beautiful and historically significant towns in the Middle East is Rijal Almaa Village, situated in the Asir region of Saudi Arabia.
'The Brightest Men' is what the phrase Rijal Almaa means. Rich in tradition and culture, Rijal Almaa Heritage Village is a haven for history buffs, nature lovers, and even casual travelers. Due to its exceptional architecture, the town is one of the contenders for UNESCO World Heritage status.
- The charming Rijal Almaa Heritage Village is located close to the Yemeni border, around 45 kilometers from Abha. It is surrounded by steep hills and is located adjacent to a winding road once one of the most important trade routes in the Arabian Peninsula. It served as the primary commercial center for the area for many years and provided a direct connection between Yemen and Lavant and Makkah and Madinah.
- Deep dive into the past as you enter the tall-standing monuments: The village comprises 60 antique multi-story buildings made of wood, stone, and clay, and on the hillside are several defensive watchtowers placed to offer the best possible field of view and fire range. Some of the well-known, must-see forts include the forts of Maejib and Hakim, Msamr, al-Dir'iyyahal-Dir'iyyah, al-Sisbae, Al Jaber, and Al Hawat. The local family owned the forts and passed them down through the generations. Each of these forts has a unique history that the founding families have recorded and preserved. Their most distinguishing feature is that every one of the innumerable palaces, including those made of clay, wood, and stone, was built naturally. The tallest fort in the hamlet is the Fort of Al Jaber and Al Hawat, while other noteworthy forts are the Forts of Maejib and Hakim, Msamr, al-Diryyah, and al-Sisbae.
- Witness the past and present collide in art: Despite how beautiful the tall stone constructions are, the real wonders are concealed behind the stone and clay walls. Each residence is decorated and painted by trained artists using the most appealing color schemes and artworks. Naturally, the inhabitants take great pride in their architecture and have worked hard to maintain the older structures. Particularly relevant here are the 16 fortifications rebuilt in the village in 2017.
- Experience the phrase “vocal for local” here: The people of Rijal Almaa are still committed to preserving their culture, which is shown in how they live and how their city is built. Men wear traditional attire, also known as 'Futa' attire. The vibrant outfit includes a wraparound skirt made of multicolored striped cloth.
- The peasants staunchly support the Saudi Arabian custom of wearing flower wreaths. The wreaths are created by the people using lovely blooms and herbs. Because of their colorful traditional clothing and wreaths, the guys are referred to as 'Flower Men.'
- Get into the heart of Abha’s history at the museum: To preserve the rich history and culture of the town, the inhabitants of Rijal Alma created the first museum in Saudi history there in 1985. The museum displays more than 2800 local history artifacts and more than 500 kg of ancient diamonds from the region. To help visitors better comprehend the exhibits, the museum explains them in English and Arabic.