Darb Zubaydah (Zubaydah trail) was one of the most important historical routes in the Arabian Peninsula. It was taken by merchants in the past, and its importance greatly increased with the dawn of Islam, as it became one of the most prominent pilgrimage trails.
Today, the UNESCO is on the brink of adding the historical trail, once a meeting point for different civilizations, to its heritage list according to Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, who confirmed that his ministry, in cooperation with the Iraqi government, is trying to have Dar Zubaydah added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The minister explained that the trail, which extends over 1,400 km, is among the oldest trade routes in the Arabian Peninsula and have once been among the most prominent pilgrimage trails, as it facilitated cultural and commercial exchanges, adding that the Heritage Authority will work on reviving the historical trail which runs from Kufa to Makkah.
Darb Zubaydah trail is named after Zubaydah bint Jafar, wife of the Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid, for her charitable works on the numerous stations along the trail, which facilitated the pilgrims’ journey along the trail.
The Kingdom has had five Saudi sites approved in the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which includes 962 heritage and natural sites around the world in 157 countries.
Efforts to revive Darb Zubaydah are being made within the framework of strengthening bilateral relations between Riyadh and Baghdad, which have intensified recently through official meetings and visits, and the signing of a number of agreements sponsored by the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council for the implementation of an array of joint initiatives and actions between the two countries.
Madain Saleh is the first Saudi heritage site that was registered in 2008. It was followed by Ad Diriyah in 2010 and the historic Jeddah in 2014. Later the Rock Art in the Hail Region and Al-Ahsa Oasis were enlisted in 2015 and 2018, respectively.