Jouf lies in the northern part of the Kingdom. It is bounded on the north by the Kingdom’s northern boundary region; on the north-west by the Qerayyat region; on the west by the Tabouk region; on the south by the Hail region.
Jouf is of particular interest because of the role it has played in pre- and post-Islamic history. There is archeological evidence of the presence of the Assyrians and Nabataeans in Jouf. Following its conquest by Muslims in the third year of the Hijira, it became a staging post for Muslim armies, setting out to spread the message of Islam, while remaining an important cross-roads for traders and their caravans heading to or from Iraq and Syria into the Arabian peninsula.
Jouf is an excellent agricultural region where local farmers have responded to the Government’s land distribution program. The cultivation of palms constitutes the main agricultural sector. In addition Jouf produces wheat and a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, including grapes, figs, olives, potatoes and tomatoes.
Jouf: Archaeological Sites
ZAA’BAL FORTRESS: The Zaa’bal Fortress, situated on high ground overlooking Skaka from the north west, is the focal point for many legends. It is widely believed to have been built in the 7th century B.C. Mud constructions were added to it later. It is approachable from only one direction.
AL SA’EE HILL: The Al Sa’ee Hill is a relic of the Palmyric-type fortress and is surrounded by caves which include an ancient, pagan temple. The hill overlooks old Skaka town.
AL-RAJAJEEL: Al-Rajajeel (“the Men” in Saudi dialect) are stone pillars, located 22 km (14m) south of Skaka. The pillars bear unknown inscriptions which are believed to date from the 4th century B.C.
AL-TUWAIR FORTRESS: Al-Tuwair is a suburb of Skaka in which is located a large rock (the fortress) which bears both Thamudi writing dating back to the third century B.C. and Islamic inscriptions.
OMER BIN AL-KHATTAB MOSQUE: This mosque, located in Domat-Al-Jandal, is said to have been built by the second righteous Muslim Caliph, Omer bin Al-Khattab, while on his way to Bait Al-Maqdis.
MARID FORTESS/CASTLE: Built on a hill overlooking the old city of Domat-Al-Jandal and standing 600m (2,000 feet) high, the stone built Marid Fortress is believed to date back some 4,000 to 5,000 years.