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The Asir Mountains lie in the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia, parallel to the Red Sea. It comprises areas of Saudi Arabia, including areas near the Yemeni border.
The mountains cover approximately 100,000 square kilometers (40,000 sq mi), consisting of mountains, plains, and valleys of the Arabian highlands.
They are part of the Sarawat Mountains, running parallel to the Tihamah in the western portion of the Arabian Peninsula and the western parts of Saudi Arabia.
The geological structure of mountains consists primarily of limestone, sedimentary rock, sandstone, and shale of Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Paleogene origin on a Precambrian granite base.
Climate and agriculture
The region enjoys the highest average rainfall in Saudi Arabia, with an average rainfall range ranging from 600mm (24 in) to over 1,000 mm (39 in) per year in the wetter regions.
Its eastern plains and plateaus receive much lower amounts, from 500 mm (20 in) to below 100 mm (3.9 in) per year. Most of the region’s crops are cultivated on steep terraced mountainsides.
These include wheat, cotton, coffee, indigo, ginger, vegetables, and palms. The region’s vegetation also supports cattle, sheep, goats, and camel farming.
Wildlife of Saudi Arabia
The region’s difficult terrain has helped preserve its unique biodiversity, and the Asir mountains are considered among the last few natural habitats of the Arabian leopard.
Wadis and valleys of the Asir Mountains range
Wadi Al-Ghayna is as beautiful as the other valleys, while Wadi Al-Sulayyil has rare perennial trees and dense vegetation throughout the year.
The Tihama valleys have many springwater fountains, gardens, and palaces.
The Yabah Valley, a travel destination for nature lovers, is located in the province of Al-Majardah, from where it extends 100 kilometers to the Red Sea near Al-Qunfudah.
Wadi Hali’s importance lies in its upper tributaries, which flow from Rijal Almaa in the south to Tihama Bani Shahr in the north.
Its waters flow the Red Sea, descending from the Sarawat Mountains and traveling through the neighboring valleys.
Wadi Al-Bardani, an 8-kilometer-long valley in Bariq, is famous for its flowing waters, rare birds, and wild animals.
Places to visit in the Asir Mountains
Abha- Saudi Arabia’s Summer Capital
Abha is the capital city of Aseer Province and the 6th most populated city in the Kingdom.
It is over 2 200 meters above sea level and is famous for being the highest large city in Saudi Arabia, with some paity at around 2400 meters.
At this altitude, it is unsurprising that Abha benefits from a milder climate than the rest of the country, with day temperatures ranging between 15°C to 35°C.
Unlike the rest of the country, with a solitary rainy season during March and May, Aseer Province enjoys a second spell of rain in July and August due to the Indian monsoon that reaches the southwest of Saudi Arabia.
History of Abha
Located north of the ancient Kingdoms of Sheeba and Himyar, Abah has remained fertile for millennia; despite climate changes, it lies within the territory once named by the Romans’ Arabia Felix‘. Abha and the Province of Aseer have a long history.
Though no remains dating from these ancient times are found in Abha, some ancient carvings close to Habalah and Jerash, just 30 kilometers away, testify to its past.
Aseer Province was largely unknown to the world until Harry St. John Philby explored it in 1932 and published his observations in 1952. After that, it was no longer a blank spot on the map.
Places to visit in Abha
Aseer Regional Museum
Located in the city center next to the Emira Palace, the Aseer Regional Museum narrates the history of Abha and Aseer Province and exhibits traditional handicrafts and antiquities of Aseer.
Al-Muftaha Village is a few hundred meters from the Regional Museum, a cultural center built according to the traditional standards of Aseer architecture. The museum includes a hall of plastic arts and shops that sell handcrafts.
Built in 1927, Shada Palace was originally the headquarters of the Emira of Aseer Province.
It’s a brilliant example of the traditional architecture of South Arabia, replicated in the construction of the new Emira Palace, built a few meters from the heritage site.
In 2017, Sheda Palace underwent renovations and was converted into a museum for old planting, manuscripts, photographs, household tools, and coins, displaying life in Abha during the second half of the twentieth century.
Jebel Al-Akhdar – The Green Mountain
To the south of Abha lies Jebel Akhdar, a green hill standing tall at an altitude of 2340 meters. It has one of the best viewpoints over the city of Abha and its surrounding mountains, extending to the edge of the majestic Sarawat mountains.
Al-Basta district comprises many of the old villages that once formed what today is the city of Abha.
It has retained its charm and good condition with its colorful yet elegant traditional architecture and its narrow but charming streets that run along the Abha valley.
Al-Basta district also has an Ottoman bridge that connects the village to a garden.
The fort built during the Ottoman occupation overlooks the northern parts of Abha.
It is a rectangular fort 91 meters long and 25 meters wide, with three towers and an entrance on the southwestern side. Several rooms and facilities open into the fort’s interior courtyard.
With surrounding mountains as high as 3,000 meters, Abha city was exposed to the possibility of flooding. Today, a 300-meter dam to the west of the town prevents flooding.
In addition to protecting the city, the dam has created a kilometer-long lake. Here, the lush green beautiful landscapes of Abha contrast with the serene blue of the lake and the bustle of the city.
Attractions and Activities during Ahir Mountain’s visit
- Abha Dam Lake
- Cable Car
- Asir National Park
- High City
- Green Mountains
- Al Maqar Museum
- Rijal Almaa Tour