14 January 2022

Zaabal Castle – Sakaka

On top of a mountain, the highest point in the area, in the city of Sakaka in northwest Saudi Arabia sits Zaabal Castle. The castle is believed to have been built 200 years ago, but some structures are said to date back to the 1st-century Nabataean era dated from the first century BC to the first century AD. The fort consists of a reservoir and four cylindrical towers, five metres high, that are connected by a single wall and is built of stone and mud. The castle sits on top of a water well system that spans the entire city and has been a source of supply to the city’s inhabitants for centuries. It has a surrounding wall built of mud and stone decorated with mud engravings. The height of the wall is approximately two meters. There are two rooms inside the castle built of mud and stones and the roof covered in palms trunks and palm branches which are available throughout the region. One of these rooms is located in the centre of the castle, was built over a high rock base. The second chamber is located to the left when you walk through the entrance to the castle and is faced by a water tank embedded in rock to a depth of approximately 80 cm and 1 metre length approximately. The tank was used for storing water in case of barricaded inside the fortress. The castle is accessed through semi- circuitous narrow staircase built from stone. On the left on the way into the castle there is a large jebal that holds some very interesting rock art. It is not possible to get close but they are viewable from the bottom of the jebal.