ThePlace: Sakaka’s Zaabal Castle


JEDDAH: Nestled atop a mountain in the city of Sakaka in northwest Saudi Arabia, Zaabal Castle is more than a centuries-old structure. Its mud and stone-built walls tell tales of the past.

The castle also happens to reside atop a water well system that spans the entire city and has been a source of supply to the city’s inhabitants for centuries.

In fact, the wells are so large that you could walk through them, but they remain sealed off to the public because of health and safety reasons.

The fort consists of a reservoir and four towers that are connected by a single wall. Although the castle is believed to have been built 200 years ago, some structures are said to date back to the 1st-century Nabataean era. Indeed, the castle has stood the test of time and the perils of wars.

Aside from being an archaeological marvel, the fort sits at the highest point in the entire area, offering impressive panoramic views of the city.

The castle is open for tourism for anyone fascinated by the rich Arab history this region has to offer.


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