Although not at all a tourist place, the modern town of Khaybar is unexpectedly pleasant. The motorway from Medina to Tabuk runs right through town where it turns into a well-kept tree-lined road, flanked manicured lawns, known as King Abdul Aziz Road. Surprisingly for a provincial town, Khaybar is dotted with a few beautiful modern sculptures,...more
Khaybar's geographic situation, in the middle of a valley between mountains has graced it with natural wells that have been utilised for irrigation since ancient times. It is this oasis that has made Khaybar and indispensable stop along the incense trade route from Yemen to the Levant, which brought great prosperity to its inhabitants - other oases...more
Perched on a hill overlooking the oasis, the Khaybar Fortress is at least 1400 years old. Some of the earliest accounts of it came from the narrative of the Battle of Khaybar, when the Prophet Mohammed and his army invaded and conquered Khaybar. It was his nephew and son-in-law, Ali, who was able to unlock the gate of the fortress to allow the...more
Surprisingly, the provincial town of Khaybar contains a number of sculptures of modern art as an attempt to beautify the town. This is something rather unexpected from a remote town in Arabia. There is also a fountain in the middle of a main roundabout that consists of many Arabian coffee pots (see second attached photo).more
Abandoned some 40 years ago for more modern housing nearby, the traditional village of Khaybar is a fascinating ghost town. It is a frozen picture of a traditional Hijazi (i.e. western Arabian) village, albeit deserted. Hundreds of dwellings, constructed using the black basalt stone of nearby lava deposits and wooden beams and windows, seem to have...more
This is where the Arab Jews of Khaybar used to have their cemetery. Now it's surrounded by a seige. It goes back to 1400 years ago and older than that, when Jews used to live in the Arabian peninsula.It looks about 500 m wide and located on a hill. There are no signs or stones indicating any particular grave, but it's known to be a graveyard since...more
Although it has plenty of history, Khaybar is not a tourist town. It does, however, make a perfect stop for lunch along the long drive from the Medina airport to al-Ula and Mada'in Saleh. One place to eat is this Bukhari Table Restaurant (Mat'am al-Ma'ida al-Bukhari), which is located on the motorway which cuts through the modern town, known here as King Abdulaziz Road. Only locals here, including many immigrants from Indian sub-continent, so there is nothing luxurious about the restaurant. It does serve savoury grills and a couple of local Hijazi dishes including Bukhari rice (flavoured with aromatic spices and served with chicken). We chose to eat grilled chicken served on a yellow rice, which was quite delicious. Given that only plastic spoons were provided, eating the chicken was a challenge so bare hands were indispensable! The restaurant only has two tables, but has a large raised, carpeted platform to replicate the bedouin and provincial practice of eating on the floor. It is part of the fun experience!
Khaybar is located some 1.5 hour drive north of Medina. Although buses may exist, the best way to get here is to drive a personal or hired car from Medina (as an aside, the city's airport is open to non-Moslems). The road north of Medina traverses some amazing landscape consisting of rugged mountains, ancient lava deposits, lush green oases, some sand dunes and vast plains with acacia trees. Attached are a couple of photos.
Upon the arrival of Islam, Khaybar was a Jewish town inhabited by as many as eight Arab Jewish tribes. The fortress of Khaybar is often referred to as the Fortress of the Jews, while an ancient Jewish cemetery exists somewhere in the vicinity. Some of these tribes are thought to have settled the area as early as the 6th century BC, but others...more
Saudi Arabia seems in no rush to promote tourism or archaeological excavation to Khaybar likely because of its Jewish roots. This is in part politically motivated, perhaps in fear of recalling the "Greater Israel" dream of some early Zionists, who had hoped to create a Jewish state from the Nile to the Euphrates, including northwestern Arabia....more
Khaybar is very historical area, nothing else. However, you can hike up to view the whole city from that ancient castle of the Jewish palace. You should hike up 20 m or so. The castle itself is closed for safety reason since it's so fragile now and may collapse at any time. It's NOT allowed to hike that high, but you can sneak some steps upward. It's a stunning view to be able to see the entire Khaybar from that historical point.
Equipment: Sneakers for it's a bit rocky