18-Jan-2003 -- We were on a 5 day trip to the Ḥā'il area. Two days earlier we had visited another confluence point - see 26N 43E, and then headed north to Sumayrā' to explore the off road part of the old Darb Zubayda pilgrim route from Iraq to Makka in the area south of Ḥā'il.
The paved road going northwest from Ḥā'il ends at Jubba, which is a historic town lying at the edge of the Nafūd - a great sand desert. It has seen many civilisations pass through this area and was the on the old camel tracks from the North to the Najd central region of Riyāḍ. After the winter rains the sands have been an important source of pasture and fuel for the tribes.
The sandstone jabals (mountains) are covered in petroglyphs (rock paintings) done by 5 different pre-Islamic civilisations from the recent Thamudic 2,500 years ago to the Neolithic stone age of 9,000 years ago. Jabal Umm Silmān ("Mountain of the Mother of Two Camel Humps") on the outside of town is a major archaeological petroglyph site and is now fenced off by the Ministry of Antiquities, but entry can be obtained with written permission.
Jubba is a small oasis lying in a former lakebed, and sheltered from the prevailing northwest winds by the jabal. The lake is dried up but water still drains from the sand dunes and there are many big farms with watering pivots and date palms near the town.
After a few attempts, which ended in farms, we reached the confluence point, which is on the white lake bed and actually on a private farm just over the fence. We thought it much safer to say we got to within 50 metres than try and explain to the local Saudi farmer who does not speak English why we wanted to trespass on his property. Driving through Jubba village creates enough excitement as western expatriates are not a common sight here.
Jubba is a great area for history and archaeological buffs.