Al-'Ula (Arabic: ٱلْعُلَاal-ʿulā), is a city of the Medina Region in north-westernSaudi Arabia. Historically located on the incense route, the city lies within the Governorate of 'Ula (Arabic: مُحَافَظَة ٱلْعُلَا, romanized: Muḥāfaẓat Al-ʿUlā), one of seven in the Medina Region, covering an area of 29,261 square kilometres (11,298 sq mi). The city is 110 km (68 mi) southwest of Tayma and 300 km (190 mi) north of Medina. The city (municipality) covers 2,391 square kilometres (923 sq mi). The population of the city is 5,426.
Al-'Ula was the capital of the ancient Lihyanites (Dedanites). The governorate contains the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Saudi Kingdom, called Hegra (also known as Al-Hijr, or Mada'in Saleh / Mada'in Salih), 22 km (14 mi) north of the city. Hegra (Mada'in Salih) was built more than 2,000 years ago by the Nabataeans. Al-'Ula, the ancient walled city, is packed with mud-brick and stone houses. (Full article...)
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Map of the Battle of the Trench
The Battle of the Trench (Arabic: غزوة الخندق, romanized: Ghazwat al-Khandaq), also known as the Battle of Khandaq (Arabic: معركة الخندق, romanized: Ma’rakah al-Khandaq) and the Battle of the Confederates (Arabic: غزوة الاحزاب, romanized: Ghazwat al-Ahzab), was a 27-day-long defense by Muslims of Yathrib (now Medina) from Arab and Jewish tribes. The strength of the confederate armies is estimated at around 10,000 men with six hundred horses and some camels, while the Medinan defenders numbered 3,000.
The largely outnumbered defenders of Medina, mainly Muslims led by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, dug a trench on the suggestion of Salman the Persian, which, together with Medina's natural fortifications, rendered the confederacy's cavalry (consisting of horses and camels) useless, locking the two sides in a stalemate. Hoping to make several attacks at once, the confederates persuaded the Muslim-allied Medinan Jews, Banu Qurayza, to attack the city from the south. However, Muhammad's diplomacy derailed the negotiations, and broke up the confederacy against him. The well-organized defenders, the sinking of confederate morale, and poor weather conditions caused the siege to end in a fiasco. (Full article...)