16 July 2021

Al Hamra Palace – Tayma

Al Hamra Palace is located on the north west of the city of Tayma, one of the oldest settlements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and even the whole Arabian Peninsula. It is named after Al-Hamra region, where it is located, which is known for its red formations. It is dated at the first milelennium BC, in the reign of the Babylonian emporer Taima. It is a stone-made building erected on a low rocky ridge overlooking the site of an ancient lake. The pottery found on the site indicates that this palace could date back to the 6th century BCE when Nabonidus, last king of Babylon, conquered the oasis city. It is divided into three sections, one of which was used for worship, and the other two to serve the residents of the palace. During the excavations of the Al-Hamra Palace several archaeological discoveries of importance were made. The most prominent are a broken stela with with a carved religious scene and part of an Aramaic inscription, relating to a relating to a religious dedication of an Arabian tribe. A cube-shape stone was found with religious symbols comparable to those on the Tayma stone, and represent the Moon-god (the bull), the Sun-god (the winged disc), and the planet Venus or Ishtar (star enclosed in a circle). Excavations of the site were carried out between 1979 and 1986.