‘Uruq Bani Mu’arid officially inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site

‘Uruq Bani Mu’arid officially inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Nominated in 2019, the reserve is part of the expansive landscape of the Ar-Rub‘ al-Khali desert in the southwest area of Saudi Arabia
20 September 23
‘Uruq Bani Mu’arid Reserve

Saudi Arabia is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, protected areas that are deemed to be of historical and/or cultural importance to the entire world.

And, one more location has been added to the list — ‘Uruq Bani Mu’arid Nature Reserve — following the meeting of delegates from around the world at the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee 2023 currently taking place in Riyadh, from 10 to 25 September.

Some of the most famous Saudi locations on the list include the archeological site of Hegra added in 2008, which is an incredible example of an ancient Nabataean city and Mecca Gate was inscribed in 2014, and is recognised as part of Historic Jeddah: where the old city of Jeddah sits on the edge of the Red Sea and has been inhabited since the seventh century.

Other unique additions include, the carvings of Jabal Ikmah added in 2023 alongside the Rock Art of Hail, officially added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015, Saudi’s Hail region is home to a plethora of ancient rock art etched by our ancestors almost 10,000 years ago. 

As of this month, the ‘Uruq Bani Mu’arid Reserve has now been added or 'inscribed' onto the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The area was nominated by Saudi as a location that should be recognised and protected in 2019, and now, four years later the location has been inscribed by a panel seated in Riyadh.

Spanning more than 12,000 kilometres, the ‘Uruq Bani Mu’arid Reserve is one of the Kingdom's largest protected areas. The diverse terrain lends itself to being the first 'model reserve' in Saudi Arabia, here the latest technologies are implemented for monitoring and conducting the necessary checks to preserve the natural landscape and local wildlife, as part of an integrated preservation program by the National Center for Wildlife Development.

The site is globally notable due to the reintroduction of iconic desert animals, including the Arabian Oryx and Arabian Sand Gazelle, into their natural habitats after decades of extinction in the wild.

The ‘Uruq Bani Mu’arid Reserve offers the last natural habitat in the Arabian Peninsula where the Arabia Oryx settle. With the Center's efforts, the reserve has become a breeding ground for the Arabian Oryx, the Arabian Sand Gazelle and other endangered species. And, the ever-shifting sand dunes provide an ideal, well-oxygenated environment for various sand-diving invertebrates and reptiles, enhancing the site's ecological significance.

Learn more about the good work of the National Center for Wildlife Development in ‘Uruq Bani Mu’arid Reserve, right here.