Saudi Arabia: Beyond the Veil

November 2 – November 14, 2019
Led by: To be announced

Trip Price: To be advised
Single Room Supplement: To be advised

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are countries of startling contrasts–barren sands masking great oil reserves, millennia-enduring archaeological sites sharing city blocks with modern engineering marvels, and conservative Islamic ideals juxtaposed by images of luxury symbols from the West. Our program sets out to examine these two countries with their differing responses to modernity and Islam. We begin in Jeddah, a commercial port-city whose old city is renowned for its traditional multi-storied dwellings made of coral. Enjoy the striking mountain scenery around Abha where tiny villages are nestled amidst green terraced fields. Follow an ancient trade route to Madain Saleh, a desert plateau strewn with monumental rock-hewn tombs from the ancient Nabataean kingdom. Nearby sits labyrinthian Al ‘Ula, once a wealthy trading hub along the “Incense Route” and characterized by its narrow, winding streets and mud-brick houses with structural materials over 2000 years old. Fly to Riyadh, the kingdom’s imposing capital that only sixty years ago was a remote walled village. In Dhahran to the east, become familiar with the immense Saudi oil industry, understanding its central role in Saudi life and how it has dramatically shaped modern Saudi Arabia. Travel over the 16 mile long King Fahd Causeway to Bahrain, the garden of the Persian Gulf comprised of 33 separate islands with a juxtaposition of ancient Islamic and modern architecture. Bahrain is a paradise of shady palm groves filled with brightly colored birds, flowers and fruits and also home to hundreds of ancient Dilmun burial mounds at A’Ali. Return home from Bahrain.


November 2: Saturday. Depart US.
November 3: Sunday. Jeddah. Intercontinental Jeddah.
November 4: Monday. Jeddah.
November 5: Tuesday. Abha. Abha Palace.
November 6: Wednesday. Al Ula. Sahary Al Ola Camp.
November 7: Thursday. Al Ula.
November 8: Friday. Riyadh. Movenpick Hotel Riyadh.
November 9: Saturday. Riyadh.
November 10: Sunday. Riyadh.
November 11: Monday. Dhahran. Sheraton Dammam.
November 12: Tuesday. Bahrain. Four Seasons Bahrain.
November 13: Wednesday. Bahrain.
November 14: Thursday. Return home from Bahrain.