04 September 2021

Dedan Lion Tombs - Al Ula

The ancient city of Dedan was a key location on the ancient incense trading routes and was the capital of two major civilisations, the Dadonite and the Lihyanite Kingdoms. The city was occupied from the 8th to 1st centuries BC and possibly earlier. Dedans economy was based on trade, mainly gold, frankincense, Myrrh and spices and agriculture, with plentiful water and fertile soil and a reputation for friendliness to travellers. The Lihyanite based in Dedan played an important role in the movement of these goods across Arabia. Dedan has many hundreds of tombs, the most visible cut into the rock face with the Lion Tombs the most visited. The carved lions could symbolise powerful status or strength, or they could have been carved to protect the tombs occupants. Also in the site of the lion tombs is the old city of Dedan where excavations have focused on religious structures revealing impressive architecture and monumental statues. At the centre of the city was a large temple dedicated to Dhu Ghaybah, the chief god of the Lihyanite Kingdom. In the city is a huge circular basin carved from a single block of sandstone. Known locally as ‘Mahlab al-Naqah’ or ‘al-Hallawiyah’, it could hold around 26 cubic metres of water and was probably used for religious occasions. The Dedan Lion Tombs can be visited by booking tickets at experiencealula.co