Rijal Alma one of the most prominent cultural and archeological destinations in Saudi Kingdom, is considered an architectural icon ever built by a human, winning in 2017 first place in the Arab Cities “Mudon” Award in respect to its “architectural heritage” after the completion of the restoration of 16 fortresses in the village.
Situated in Asir’s southwestern part of the Kingdom, it is considered a mountainous region with diverse environment and rich in heritage which have given it an Arab authenticity and civilization in which it exists.
There are several ways to reach this governorate, including Aqabat Ash Sha’ar of Mahayel Asir, or Aqabat Dala’a in the southern part of Abha, and from the west Aqabat al-Samaa parallel to Assouda park on an ancient trade route connecting Yemen’s Makkah and the Red Sea.
Rijal Alma is called a stone village because it was laboriously built from local stone.
Some buildings are up to seven stories high and accented in gleaming white quartz.
In this governorate residents can find all kind of services from the best education, to health and security, in a modern city following in the footsteps of other advanced cities in the kingdom.
Rijal Alma is located in the center of the governorate and is separated by Raz mountain the name of a natural barrier that divide between Sham Alma in the norh and Yemen Alma in the south and surrounded by mountains from all sides except the southwest.
The village went through a lot of development phases most notably the building of an open theater, with an area of 615 square meters and can accommodate up to 1,000 people, as well as the surrounding areas, which are shopping places, selling local products and artisans.
While the green area was expanded by 7,000 square meters, with umbrellas scattered around so families can gather and enjoy their time.
Aesthetics value and history
Rijal Alma is an important touristic destination for visitors from Asir region through a fun trip by telefrique or cars. Visitors find themselves in the presence of ancient times, as the museum and its archaeological artifacts reflects the activity of the predecessors. Also there is a heritage library full with religious and literary books and historical documents.
The village have a number of palaces which are seen as a witness to a bright civilization, some of which rise to eight floors, and have been built for more than two centuries, and still exist, with their majestic appearance and ancient architectural designs and the innovations of the people of that land.
Museum of Rijal Alma
Located in the town and is considered a special touristic destination for those looking for a summary of a life that lies between suffering and wellbeing, and becomes a pioneer and distinct civilization.
The museum was built 22 years ago, when the citizens of Rijal Alma put forward a proposal in order to protect the areas heritage. A team was formed to carry out the renovation work of the palace turned to a museum, under the supervision of the late illustrious expert Fatima Ali Abu Qahas from the village while the residents of Rijal Alma provided and handed over whatever they have of tools, weapons and antiquities while others donated money to make the museum a reality.
The Rijal Alma museum is considered a tourist cultural channel, divided into 20 sections. The museum also contains more than 2,800 heritage pieces and 500 kilograms of ancient silver jewelry.
The most famous palaces and fortresses
The most famous palaces in Rijal Alma is the Palace of Riyadh, which coincided with the opening of Riyad, the Saudi capital in 1319 AH and the palace of al-Daraia, in attribution to the construction of its last floor with the return home of Rijal Alma men who emigrated to Al-Daraia to study under the supervision of scholar Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Wahab .
Also there is the palace of Hakim, named by this for the fame of its citizens in trade and in helping the needy and the poor. There also the Palace of Moujab, palace al-Jaber and Palace Mousmar which was built in 943AH.
The heritage and folkloric colors in Rijal Alma
The popular heritage of Rijal Alma is rich in traditions, crafts, customs and popular games of this region.