Saudi Places – Spotlight on Hail


I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a number of Saudis who happen to hail from Hail. These indviduals have all the most charming, kind and hospitable individuals. As a result, they stimulated my interest to learn more about Hail and its history.

First of all I refered to Wikipedia where I found a plethoria of information. Ha’il (also spelled Hail, Ha’yel, or Hayil Arabic: حائل) is an oasis city in Nejd in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of the Ha’il Province. The city has a population of 267,005 according to a 2004 census.

Ha’il is largely agricultural, with significant grain, date, and fruit production. A large percentage of the kingdom’s wheat production comes from Ha’il Province, where the area to the northeast, 60 km to 100 km away, consists of irrigated gardens. Traditionally Ha’il derived its wealth from being on the camel caravan route of the Hajj. Ha’il is well known by the generosity of its people in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world as it is the place where Hatim al-Tai lived.

Now normally I do not extract so much from another site for one of my posts, but as I continued reading what was in wikipedia about Hail, I knew I had to share the full information:


Ha’il was the center of the emirate of Al Rashid, a clan of the Shammar tribe, from 1836 until 1921. The first emir, Abdullah bin Rashid, took power with his brother emir Obaid and their distant cousin and close friend emir Zamil (1st) Al Sabhan in 1836 from the former ruler of Ha’il, Mohammad Ibn Ali, who was a fellow member of the Jafaar linage of the Abde section of the Shammar tribe. Abdullah bin Rashid continued constructing the Barzan Palace in Ha’il which had been started by Mohammad Ibn Ali. After the death of Abdullah bin Rashid (in 1847 or 1848) his son and successor, Talal (or Telal), completed the palace.

During the Al Rashid period many foreign travellers visited Ha’il and the Rashidi emirs, and described their impressions in different journals and books, including those of Georg August Wallin (1854), William Gifford Palgrave (1865), Lady Anne Blunt (1881), Charles Montagu Doughty (1888), and Gertrude Bell (1907).


The opening of the Hejaz railway between Damascus and Medina, together with new inexpensive steamship routes to Jeddah, undermined the traditional camel caravan economy of Ha’il.

Today Ha’il is the center of Saudi Arabia’s agricultural program,[citation needed] and most of the wheat crops of the kingdom come from the area surrounding the city.

And among Hail’s more famous resident’s is Mohamed Al-Deayea:

Main article: Mohamed Al-Deayea

A Saudi Arabian football (soccer) goalkeeper. He played in four World Cups for the Saudi Arabia national team, and as of early 2007, he is the world record holder for most international appearances by a male footballer, with 181 caps for Saudi Arabia. He is the current captain of local club Al-Hilal.

Sightseeing and Events


*an old photo of the Barzan souk.

Barzan Souk

Ha’il has a market or souk near the location of the Barzan Palace. Now it’s not like a bazar or souk, it is a well developed shopping place.

Main article: Barzan palace

Barzan historical palace was built in 1808 by prince Muhammad bin Abdul-Muhsin Al Ali over an area of more than 300,000 square meters. The Palace was completed during the rule of the 2nd Rashidi amir, Talal ibn Abdullah (1848–68). The Palace consisted of 3 floors, the first had the reception halls, gardens, and kitchens. The second had the diplomatic guests rooms. The third had the royal family rooms. It was near Barzan souq.

*Qishlah palace in Ha’il


Main article: Qishlah

Made in the 1940s while prince Abdul-Aziz bin Musa’ad Al Saud held office in Ha’il province. It is a two-floor mud palace, 142.8×141.2 meters, its walls are 8.5m high, and it has eight watch-towers along with the wall with two main gates, eastern and western gates.


Ha’il Rally

Is an important event in Ha’il and even in Saudi Arabia as it is the first Rally in Saudi Arabia which started in 2006 and approved by FIA in 2008.[3]

Is an annual festival held in the province of Ha’il to exchange experiences in desert life around the world[4].

Ha’il University


The university of Ha’il (UOH) started as a community college, called Ha’il Community College (HCC), under the auspices of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in September 1998. HCC was the first Community College to open in a planned expansion of educational opportunities for Saudi Arabian high school graduates. HCC started by offering three-year Associate degree programs in Business Administration, Computer Systems, and Electronic Engineering and Instrumentation. Later on, HCC offered three Bachelor degree programs in Applied Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Management Information Systems. It was officially established on 14 June 2006.[5] The university consists of five colleges: College of Medicine & Medical Sciences, College of Science, College of Engineering, College of Computer Science & Computer Engineering, and Community College. The first students were admitted on 11 February 2006. In 2007, two existing colleges joined the university, which are Teachers College and Girls Education College. These two colleges were originally under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. The university enrolment has grown to more than 16,000 students.

The University has several campuses inside the city, as well as a new campus under construction, which is located to the north of the city and covers an area of more than 9,000,000 m².



Ha’il is connected to 3 main highways, Madinah, Buraydah, and Jouf Highways, which connect Ha’il with the northern borders of Saudi Arabia.

Rail System

Ha’il has an important logistic role in northern Saudi Arabia’s rail system. In 2008 Ha’il is the site of a concrete sleeper plant for railway construction.


Main article: Ha’il Regional Airport

Ha’il Regional Airport (IATA:HAS, ICAO:OEHL) is a domestic airport located to the southern-east of Ha’il city and is served by three airlines: Sama Airlines, NAS Airlines, and a few flights by Saudi Arabian Airlines. It should be noticed that a new International airport will be constructed near Ha’il city, in The Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Musaed Economic City (PABMEC), as Ha’il has a strategic location in the Middle East because it takes only one hour by plane to reach 11 Arab capitals.[6].

The Saudi Embassy also has posted an excellent document with magnificent photos which I am confident will further whet the appetite on why one would want to visit Hail. Hotel choices in Hail include Hotel Geblain and Hotel Hail Bayoudi. I certainly hope that I can make it to Hail sometime in 2009. And who says there is nowhere to go or nothing to see in Saudi Arabia?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,277 other followers

%d bloggers like this: