Al Qassim Province
(also spelled Al Qaseem
, Al Qasim
, or Qassim
; ælqɑˈsˁiːm, Arabic
: منطقة القصيم) is one of the thirteen administrative provinces of Saudi Arabia
. Located at the heart of the country, and almost in the center of the Arabian Peninsula
. It has a population of 1,016,756 and an area of 65,000 km². It is known to be the "alimental basket" of the country, for its agricultural asset.
It is the seventh populated province in the country after the province of Jizan. It has more than 400 cities, towns, villages, and Bedouin settlements, Ten of which are recognized as governorates. Its capital city is Buraydah, which is inhabited by approximately 49% of the region's total population.
The governor of the province is prince Faisal Bin Bandar Al Saud.
Al Qassim is derived from the word "Qassimah" (Arabic
: قصيمة) which means in Arabic "a fertile land" or "a land that is occupied with trees".
The region is actually known to contain a large group of Calligonum
plants such comosum (or Arta between locals).
The province is located in the center of Saudi Arabia
within 400 km north of Riyadh
the capital. It is bordered by Riyadh province
to the south and east, by Ha'il province
to the north, and by Medina province
to the west. The region is connected to almost every part of Saudi Arabia by a very complicated highways net. It has a regional airport which also connects Al Qassim to other provinces of the country.
There isn't much information known about Al Qassim Province in the times of Pre-Islamic Arabia
, but it is known from some poems of the poets of Pre-Islamic Arabia that some of its towns have existed in that time.
Unaizah, has been repeatedly mentioned in the poems of Imru Al Qais
(the famous Arabian poet
), and in the poems of others.
The Abbasid Empire
Al Qassim Province had some important foyers on the road of pilgrims
coming from the east (mainly Persia and Iraq) in the era of the Abbasid Empire
The Zubeida road, was a long pilgrims road that started from the city of Kufa in Iraq to Mecca in Arabia. The road was constructed in the reign of Harun Al Rashid and was named after his wife Zubeida.
It had pilgrims foyers in many of the region's cities including Unaizah, and other cities.
Modern Times-Saudi State
The Abu Ulayan dynasty from the Banu Tamim
tribe has conquered and annexed the emirate
of Buraydah in the late 16th century by its leader, Rashid Al Duraiby.
He has built the current city of Buraydah, and gave it the official status of being the region's capital, except for the city of Unaizah, which was ruled by Al Sulaim dynasty.
The Abu Ulayan dynasty kept ruling the emirate until it was captured from them by Muhanna Salih Abalkhail, the leader of the Abalkhail dynasty, that dynasty kept ruling the emirate until it was recaptured from them in 1890 by Muhammad Bin Abdullah Al Rashid, the Emir of Ha'il, and he annexed it to his state, the emirate of Al Rashid in Ha'il.
The Abalkhail dynasty recaptured the emirate again from Al Rashid of Ha'il in 1904, they kept ruling the emirate (with the exception of Unaizah) until it was around 1907 when most of the region's lands have joint the newly found state, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Al Qassim province is divided by the Wadi Al Rumma
The valley crosses all of the region from the west to the northeast. It is the longest valley in the whole Arabian peninsula
, it stretches for about 600 km (370 miles) from near Medina
, to the Thuayrat Dunes in the east, and northeast of the region.
The land's height in Qassim is about 600-750 meters above sea level, and it is gliding from west to east in general.
Al Qassim region has a typical desert climate
, known for its cold, rainy winters. And for its hot and sometimes balmy, aneroid summers, with low humidity
Along with tourism, agriculture is still the cornerstone of the region's economy. Although the region has been famous for its agricultural asset for a long time, it wasn't until recently that the wheat production has been introduced to the local agricultural industry, making Saudi Arabia a net exporter of cereal.
The region also produces dates, grapes, lemons, grapefruits, mandarin oranges, oranges, pomegranates, and a large group of vegetables.
Buraydah (the capital of the province) is one of the biggest dates producers worldwide. Each year (in September), a big "dates season ceremony" is celebrated, at which a lot of people come from all over the GCC countries to buy their yearly requirement of dates. It also has the biggest camel market in the world.
Unaizah (the second largest city) has created its own "dates season ceremony", called "Unaizah, the kingdom of dates", the municipality of the city has paired it with other festivals being held annually, to promote a good tourism reputation.
Agriculture in general is considered to be a very important part of the region's natives culture, with special vegetables being linked to every city, for example eating leeks (kurrat) is associated with the people of Unaizah, while adding hot peppers to meals is associated with the people of the city of Rass.
The region is served by so many schools
in every city and town, for all of the three educational levels (primary, intermediate, and secondary). There is almost every kind of school (public
) in most of the cities, with international and private schools being mainly concentrated in the cities of Buraydah, and Unaizah.
Although there are many colleges in most of the region's towns, there is the Qassim University, which is almost located between Buraydah and Unaizah at the heart of the region.
- Buraydah is the official capital of the province, with about 49% of the population residing in the city. The palace of the province' prince is located in the city, along with other governmental centers. It is the seventh largest city (by population) in the country after Taif with a total population of 505,000 (2007 census).
- Unaizah is the region's second largest city. The city is ruled by Al Sulaim dynasty, in accordance to a written treaty between them and the Saudi royal family, the city is known to be center of religion and culture, thus making Al Qassim Province as a whole to be known as a center of religion and culture. The city is famous for its tourist attractions and festivals.
- Ar Rass is the third largest city in Al Qassim Province by population. It is also thought to be the largest city in Al Qassim Province by area. It has an area of about 60 km²
There are also other nearby towns or governorates including Bukiriah, Muznib, Badaya'a, and Nabhaniya. All of which are mainly agricultural communities.
There is at least one or two general hospitals
in every city of the region. In addition to the private health care sector, which has a stronger presence than the governmental one. Private hospitals are distributed everywhere in the cities of the region.