Al-Baha is one of the many regions and cities with a great legacy of ancient architecture, which is evident in its villages placed in various parts of the region.
Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of this ancient architecture is its dependence on nature alone, as a house is built from stones and trees that are brought from various parts of the region, usually from granite and basalt rocks that are adorned with quartz stones. In contrast, the house is roofed with juniper trees that are covered with mud.
The professor of urban design at Al-Baha University, Dr Abdulaziz Hanash, said the traditional architecture of the courtyard and its urban heritage is one of the most important pillars and comparative advantages that characterize the region. It is rich in many historical monuments, whether in ‘the Sarat’ or ‘Tihama’ area, which are of interest to the state to develop tourism in Al-Baha and make it a summer destination in addition to developing winter tourism.
He pointed out that the urban fabric in the old villages of Al-Baha is compact due to the nature of the materials used for construction, to provide a larger area of land for agriculture and to enhance the security aspects in the villages. The buildings are close together, and the streets are narrow with a yard in the middle of these dwellings to perform many social and living functions. As for the buildings, they are high and few openings, local stone blocks were carefully selected to build the buildings, and local trees such as juniper, sidr, talc, and wild olives were used in the ceilings, wooden poles and doors. There are three main elements referred to when talking about the architectural heritage in the region: forts, mosques, and residences. There are more than 4000 forts spread in many locations in Al-Baha region. They are usually similar in designs and construction methods, and some sources say that there are only about 200 of them left.
Dr Abdulaziz added that the forts are distinguished by the accuracy of construction, durability, straightness of the pillars and different heights, and the height of these forts is determined based on their locations. Some of these forts were built 600 years ago.
He confirmed that there are many archaeological sites in the region distinguished by the quality of their construction, their pleasing appearance, their accuracy in the straightness of their walls and angles, and the beauty of their windows and doors. One of the most important landmarks in Al-Baha is the historic Bin Raqoush Palace, as well as the village of Al-Atawla. Perhaps the most important characteristic of these heritage villages is the creativity of their architecture in their construction of stone, as the walls of the buildings in the region are made of local solid stones.