Saudi Arabia / Cities and Towns /
Other spelling: Hail
City and oasis in northwestern Saudi Arabia with 250,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate), set in between the mountains Shammar and Salma. It is the capital of Ha'il Province with 550,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate).
Ha'il is largely an agricultural centre, specializing in grains, dates and fruits. A large percentage of the kingdom's wheat production comes from Ha'il Province, where the area to the northeast, 60 km to 100 km away, consists of irrigated gardens.
Ha'il is well-connected to other urban centres to the south, by road. Buraydah is 300 km southeast, Riyadh is 640 km southeast and Madina 400 km southwest.
Modern Ha'il is city of a widespread centre, and numerous parks.
1836: A local dynasty is established with Ha'il as its centre, by Ibn Rashid. Ha'il thrives from controlling the pilgrimage route across the desert, connecting Mecca and Iraq.
1891: The Rashidi clan make Ha'il the capital of large parts of Arabia, known as Najd.
1902: Najd loses Riyadh, but is recognized as a kingdom.
1908: The Hijaz Railway opens, beginning the decline of Ha'il.
1921: Following an attack by Ibn Saud, the rulers of Ha'il has to surrender.