Al-Ula is a city of the Medina Region in north-western Saudi Arabia. The city is 110 km (68 mi) southwest of Tayma and 300 km (190 mi) north of Medina. The city covers 2,391 square kilometres (923 sq mi).
Al-Ula was the capital of the ancient Lihyanites (Dedanites). AlUla, the ancient walled city, is packed with mud-brick and stone houses.
The governorate contains the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Saudi Kingdom, called Hegra (also known as Al-Hijr, or Mada'in Saleh / Mada'in Salih), 22 km (14 mi) north of the city.
The walled city of Al-Ula was founded in the 6th century BC, an oasis in the desert valley, with fertile soil and plenty of water.
AlUla stands on the site of the Biblical city of Dedan but was founded with the ancient North Arabian Kingdom of Lihyan, which ruled from the 5th to 2nd century BC.
The Islamic Nabi (Prophet) Muhammad passed through AlUla in 630 on his campaign to Tabuk.
In the 13th century the old city of AlUla was built and many stones of the old Dedanite and Lihyanite ruins were reused.
Between 1901 and 1908 the Ottomans built the Hejaz railway in order to link Damascus to Madinah. The railway had main stations in both Mada'in Salih (Hegra) and AlUla.
In the 20th century the new town centre was established beside the old town and eventually the people left the old buildings. Both the ruins of the medieval town and the site of the Liyhanite settlement now lie within the limits of the modern town.
There are four major municipalities in the Governorate of Ula: AlUla: the capital lying to the southwest, Mughira to the southeast, Abu Raku to the north and Al Hajar to the northeast.
AlUla has the potential to be one of the most important archaeological destinations for tourists from across the world.