In the center of Saudi Arabia lies one of the kingdom’s 13 provinces, the Qassim region. The region features the elements of green tourism, which made it a popular destination. Qassim region offers its visitors relaxation, recreation and recreation throughout the year.
Qassim lies about 400 kilometers northwest of the capital of Riyadh. It is bordered by the Ha’il province to the north, the Medina province to the west and the Riyadh region to the south and east. You can reach the region through the North-South Railway Line from most of the kingdom’s major cities.
Qassim is famous for its rich agriculture and its vibrant traditional heritage that is reflected in his architecture and celebrated in its numerous festivals.
It is also known for its wheat, which it exports heavily, and its dates, which are popular throughout the country. Perhaps this is why Qassim is also called Kingdom’s “food basket”.
Thanks to the region’s abundance of water, its fertile soil and moderate climate, it is suitable for growing most crops, including grapes, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, mandarin oranges, pomegranates and many vegetables.
The region hosts thousands of farms whose owners have turned them into tourist destinations that welcome visitors from all cities, looking to dive into nature, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The area of Falayeh Unayzah in the center of the governorate is one of the most important tourist attractions in Qassim, due to its diversity and abundance of tall palm trees, water canals and various methods of agriculture, both ancient and modern.
These places share in many of the elements that they offer to tourists, inspired by the rich rural environment that has roots. When in Qassim you can enjoy the mud buildings, agricultural lands, ponds, wells, animals and birds. The region also offers rich heritage and culture, as you can learn their customs and tradition, which extends to simple folk cuisine.
The main market in Buraydah, the province’s capital city, offers a variety of dates year-round. If you’re visiting at the end of the summer, you might catch the annual Buraydah Date Festival, a 35-day event, which draws farmers and tourists from neighboring regions and countries every year to sell dates and date by-products, like date syrup. Qassim has a desert climate, with long, hot summers and short, mild winters, and there’s little precipitation, so it’s a great place to get out and explore.
The Qassim experience in the field of agricultural tourism is one of the successful experiences, although it is still in its early stages, considering the number of farms that obtained a license to qualify agricultural and rural tourism from the General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage.
The experiences in these farms vary between establishing attractive tourism and agricultural activities, as well as organizing events organized.
Moreover, they are also establishing rural inns and heritage hotels, and the exploitation of farm products to offer to the tourists.
In the Qassim region, 13 events are held annually related to agricultural products, such as Buraidah Dates Festival, Onaiza Dates Festival, Grapes Festival, Strawberry Festival, Pomegranate Festival, and Pumpkin Festival. It also contains 21 agricultural and rural tourism projects, and 4 licensed farms that contain rural inns.
His Royal Highness Prince Dr. Faisal bin Mishaal bin Saud bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Qassim Region, Chairman of the Tourism Development Council and Chairman of the Investment Development Committee in the region launched the Qassim Orchards and Rural Initiative.
The initiative aims to utilize the agricultural potentials and investment opportunities that Qassim embraces through: farms, agricultural products, agricultural investment opportunities, livestock farms, wild parks, and agricultural festivals.
The rural tourist farms are heavily involved in supporting tourism in the Qassim region. The traditional farms – which were rehabilitated according to the regulations of the General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage – witnessed a distinguished tourist presence from the people of Qassim and its visitors during the summer holidays, and the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha holidays, attracting tourists and visitors to the region.
One of the owners of rural farms, Youssef Al-Zunaidi, told Saudi Press Agency that the term rural tourism is a global term that is increasing in popularity year after year. He indicated that the idea of a rural farm is to live in the past, so that the rural tourist lives in an old-style house, wakes up in the early morning and buys the fruits of the farm, and leads a simple rural life away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Al Bukayriyah City
A hidden gem, Al Bukayriyah — about 40 minutes from Buraydah — is a small city of about 25,000 inhabitants. Although it is lesser known than some of Saudi’s bigger cities, don’t let that deter you: Al Bukayriyah is considered an up-and-coming tourist destination. So if you like to feel like you “discovered” a spot, this trip is worth the relatively little time it takes to get there. Like Buraydah, Al Bukayriyah is characterized by lush greenery and a warm, inviting climate. Historically, it was the site of the Battle of Bukayriyah in 1904, during the unification of Saudi Arabia. In addition to offering a variety of restaurants, shops and spas, culture-seekers will want to see the Az Zahraa Grand Mosque, and children may enjoy exploring the Waterfall Park.
Al Shinanah Tower
This historic watchtower, which is at least 200 years old, is perched in the southwest of the city of Al Rass in Qassim, a little more than an hour from Buraydah. The incredibly well-preserved mud-brick structure bore witness to many historic battles. It is said that during one battle, the tower was damaged by intense artillery fire and had to be rebuilt and that it was reduced to its current 27 meters from its original height of 45 meters.
Al Bassam Heritage House
Fans of heritage villages, museums, souqs, historical palaces and ancient architecture will particularly enjoy visiting Al Bassam House, which a tourist who was there recently described as “unforgettable.” Located in Unayzah (about 30 minutes outside Buraydah), Al Bassam House was built in 1955 using traditional Najdi ventilation and lighting techniques and spans 3,500 square meters. The palatial structure’s roof incorporates traditional Najd wood carvings. (Najdi is an architectural style characterized by unfired mud-brick, which has dominated the Saudi countryside for hundreds of years.) It features 30 rooms on two floors, including bedrooms, guest rooms and storage rooms. Inside, visitors can enjoy ancient crafts, traditional foods, folk tales, poems and ancestral heritage and history.
Uyun Al Jiwa
Roughly 50 kilometers northwest of Buraydah, this ancient oasis — the name translates to “the valley’s ponds,” which used to surround the area — is most famous for the societies that used to live there. Humans have lived in Uyun Al Jiwa since at least prehistoric times. And you can still see Thamudic (an ancient Arabian tribe) inscriptions carved on rocks in the area — particularly in Al Hanadir, 15 kilometers outside Uyun Al Jiwa. While in Uyun Al Jiwa, be sure to check out Al Margab watchtower, a mud-and-adobe tower once used to spot approaching enemies; the Old Souq market; and the Old Uyun, a collection of mud houses built with adobe, clay and mud that have been preserved as a historic site.