Articles/The political, social and economic importance of Al-Uyaynah

The political, social and economic importance of Al-Uyaynah

العيينة تاريخ سياسي واجتماعي واقتصادي هام في وسط نجد

17 FEB 2020

Visitors looking to understand Islamic history better should consider a trip to Al-Uyaynah, a village in central Saudi Arabia located 30 kilometers northwest of the Saudi capital Riyadh and covering around 4,930 hectares. The history of this region dates back to pre-Islamic times and it became famous for being the site of the apostasy wars after the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) death. Throughout history it has witnessed important events and became a political, military and economic power. Al-Uyaynah was the birthplace of Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, whose followers are known as the Wahhabis.

Al-Uyaynah is one of the largest and most famous areas in the Najd region and is known for its historical and cultural sites such as the Al-Uyaynah Ain water sources used by the local farms and the rocky roads that facilitated movement between the plains and the mountains and were expanded during the reign of King Abdulaziz. There is also Thanyat Al-Ahisi, a famous historical site where the army of the great companion Khalid bin Al-Walid passed through in 11 AD. Among the landmarks of this city are the old agricultural dams, the ancient wall and its high towers, as well as old mosques whose remnants were removed and rebuilt in a modern style. Visitors should also consider Bin Muammar Palace, which was built 600 years ago and fortified with a huge wall over two meters thick and restored by Prince Sultan bin Salman when he was Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.

Al-Uyaynah is characterized by its natural features including Rawdat Al Hadar and Al-Hayisah Shoaib, the latter of which is considered a natural park that captivated civilizations with its beautiful valleys, stunning scenery and abundant trees.

Al-Uyaynah includes many mud houses built from clay, timber and palm groves, but over time these buildings seemed to disappear and little remained. The town then modernized with the construction of cement and iron buildings, asphalting of streets, and the implementation of other services such as electricity, telephone lines, schools, street paving, and public parks.

Local residents are engaged mainly in trade, government work and agriculture. The latter is the main source of income for the Al-Uyaynah, which is a first-class agricultural region with more than 200 farms and over 40,000 palm trees. A plantation project has been established to plant 25,000 trees and create a man-made forest.

Al-Uyaynah is home to many important facilities, including:

  • King Abdulaziz Military College, the first college established in the Kingdom and which acts as a prestigious military scientific institution that educates and trains students so they are qualified to serve as officers in the ground forces.
  • The solar village, established in 1980 to provide electricity with a capacity of 350 kilowatts to villages around Riyadh. It was then developed to act as the first experimental research station to implement solar energy projects at local and regional levels. This village represents the first successful attempt of Saudi-American technical cooperation in the field of solar energy in remote areas.