The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)


The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)) is part of the Tentative list of Saudi Arabia in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Darb Zubaydah is a Hajj Pilgrimage Route that links the Iraqi city of Kufa to Makkah. This is a serial nomination of 9 sites; it includes fortresses, wells, and a cleared road. The Iraqi part of this route is also on the Tentative List.

Map of The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Martina Rúčková

Slovakia - 29-Dec-22 -

The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)) (T) by Martina Ruckova

Heading to the Rock Art in the Ha'il region from Buraydah, we had one of the monuments from this series nomination.These are monuments along the historical route from the Iraqi cities of Kufa and Baghdad to Mecca. As part of its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has as one of its goals to double the number of inscriptions on the World Cultural Heritage List, and I commend them for getting consultants of quality who have come up with good topics and at the same time an international dimension. Pilgrimage routes are nominated as three potential serial entries: in addition to the Saudi-Iraqi route Darb Zubaydah (i.e. the one being reviewed), there are also Egyptian and Syrian routes. All heading, as usual, to Mecca.

Dar Zubaydah can boast an interesting history - a hundred years after the rise of Islam, local rulers tried to improve pilgrimage routes by building road infrastructure such as milestones or various places where pilgrims could spend the night during the long journey. As the population of present-day Iraq prospered at the turn of the first millennium AD, more and more people could make the pilgrimage, and there was a threat that the water supply along the way would not be sufficient for their needs. And so the building of infrastructure continued, this time water infrastructure in the form of wells and cisterns. Wealthy locals could fund or build hostels for pilgrims, which then bore their name, as part of the alms (zakat) that Islam commands. Pilgrims went on the hajj on horses, donkeys or camels. The use of the road began to decline in the 11th century after the deterioration of relations between Arabia and present-day Iraq, and by the mid-thirteenth century it ceased to be used entirely. Other routes to Mecca began to flourish.

And since we had the city of Fayd on the way, one of the points of this historical route, we made a small detour along the way to see how these historical monuments look like in practice. About an hour's drive northwest of Buraydah, Fayd Oasis is a small, sleepy local resort. From the point of view of the pilgrimage, it lies halfway between Kufa and Mecca and was historically a very important stop. It was the main seat of the administrators of the road during the pilgrimage season. Pilgrims stored food and other supplies here for the return journey. In 1327 Fayd was visited by the famous Arab traveler Ibn Battuta.

Unfortunately, Fayd's glory days are now long gone, and pilgrim-related monuments must be searched for intensively. The GPS location in the nomination materials points to the ruins of the palace, but they were fenced off and closed. We searched further, luckily we identified an obvious monument - in Saudi they are all surrounded by a typical fence and the info board announced after a quick run through Google Translate that it was indeed the remains of the pilgrimage infrastructure, namely one of the water reservoirs, a double well. There has been no water in neither of two square pools for a long time; they are covered with sand, but at least they are easily identifiable. We got our shoes really muddy, but at least we visited this part of the historic road. 

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Full Name
The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi))
Saudi Arabia
Religious structure - Islamic
2022 Revision

Successor to FTWHS Darb Zubayda (Pilgrim Road from Kufa to Makkah) (2015)

2022 Added to Tentative List

The site has 9 locations

The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)): Al-Thulaimiya (T)
The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)): Al-Jumaimiyah (T)
The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)): Al-Zabalah (T)
The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)): Stretch of the paved route between Buraykat al-‘Ashshar and Birkat al-‘Ara’ish (T)
The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)): Fayd (T)
The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)): Al-Neqrah – Al-Jafniyah Pool (T)
The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)): Al-Rabadhah (T)
The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)): Al-Kharabah (T)
The Hajj Pilgrimage Routes: The Darb Zubaydah (Saudi)): Harrat Rahat, stretch of the cleared route between Sufayna and Birket Hadha (T)
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