محافظة عنيزة
The internal ring road in Al-shrimyah district and Unaizah Mall
The internal ring road in Al-shrimyah district and Unaizah Mall
Unaizah is located in Saudi Arabia
Location in Saudi Arabia
Coordinates: 26°5′2.4″N 43°59′38.4″E / 26.084000°N 43.994000°E / 26.084000; 43.994000
CountrySaudi Arabia
ProvinceAl Qassim Province
 • Mayorسليمان بن عبدالعزيز
 • Borough GovernorFahad Al Sulaim
 • Total163,729
Time zoneUTC+3
 • Summer (DST)UTCDST not observed
Postal Code
Area code(s)+966-16

Unaizah (Arabic: عنيزة ʿUnaizah) or officially The Governorate of Unaizah (also spelled Onaizah, Onizah, or Unayzah; Arabic: محافظة عنيزة Muḥāfiẓat ʿUnaizah) is a Saudi Arabian city in the Al Qassim Province. It lies south of the province capital Buraydah and north of Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is the second largest city in Al-Qassim Province with a population of 163,729 (2010 census).[1][2]

Historically, Unaizah was an important stopping point for Muslim pilgrims coming from Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and Persia (now Iran) on their way to Makkah. Many scientists and historians believe that Unaizah was inhabited hundreds of years before the spread of Islam, citing its reference in numerous poems from some of the most important poets of pre-Islamic Arabia such as Imru' al-Qais.


Unaizah is in the south of Al-Qassim Province and at the heart of the historical region of Najd. It is located roughly 30 kilometers from Buraydah (the capital of the province) and more than 300 kilometers north of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Unaizah lies in the northern-central region of the Najd and to the south of the Wadi al-Rummah (Rumma Valley), which is the longest valley on the Arabian peninsula. It is surrounded by sand dunes to its north and west, which are known locally as the Al-Ghamis Sands. The Al-Ghadha Woods are located to the north of the city. Next to Unaizah is the Al-Aushaziyah salt lake (or Sabkha), which is considered an official part of the city.


Unaizah has a hot desert climate (Köppen Climate Classification BWh), with long, extremely hot summers and short, very mild winters. The average high temperature in August is 43.6 °C (110.5 °F). The city experiences very little precipitation, especially in summer, but receives a fair amount of rain in March and April. It is also known to have dust storms during which the dust can be so thick that visibility is under 10 m (33 ft).


Palm trees in Unaizah
Leeks (kurrat) farm in Unaizah
A section in Unaizah International Dates Festival 08

Unaizah is an agricultural area and produces wheat and barley of various strains. The region also grows grapes, grapefruits, lemons, leeks, mandarins, oranges, pomegranates and dates.

Leeks (kurrat) are a very important part of the local culture of Unaizah. They are popular among the locals and comprise a significant portion of the local agricultural industry.

An annual Date Season Festival has been held in September since the early 2000s, giving Unaizah the distinction of hosting the second largest date festival in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. The festival rivals the date festival of neighboring Buraydah's, which is sometimes known as "Buraydah, the City of Dates".[3][4]

Unaizah's 2008 (4th) annual Date Festival was known as the "Unaizah International Date Festival", though the city's title "Unaizah, the Kingdom of Dates" was retained as a motto. Many people from different places of the Middle East come to see this festival and buy dates because they know there is a good quality of dates.


Unaizah is home to some pioneers in education; the first Saudi person from Al-Qassim Province to earn a PhD. degree was from Unaizah, and his name was Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Khowaiter.[5] The first Saudi female from Al Qassim Province to earn a PhD degree was also raised in this city. Her name was Dr. Ebtisam Al Bassam.[6]

One of the first cities to embrace female education in Al-Qassim Province and Najd was Unaizah. It faced resistance from neighboring provinces and brought Unaizah at the forefront of a national debate. After lengthy negotiations, the capital city of Qassim, Buraidah a sister city of Unaizah, officially recognized the right of an education for females, partly due to King Abdulaziz's interference in settling the dispute.[7]

Today, there are many public schools in Unaizah for all three educational levels (primary, intermediate, and secondary). There are also two private schools and one private international school. There is also a boys' technological secondary school in the city and a technological college, as well as a girls' educational college. Qassim University is located approximately 30 kilometers north of the city, and enrolls both males and females.[8]

Western Travelers[]

The people of Unaizah are well known for their hospitality and acceptance for people from other races and religions. The famous Charles Montagu Doughty lived in the city during his odyssey and wrote highly about the city.

Amin al-Rihani (the famous Franco-Lebanese scholar and traveler) spoke highly of the city's architecture and works of art in his book "Kings of Arabia" likening it to Paris thereby coining the nickname "Paris of Najd" for the city.[9]


the Roman Amphitheatre during the 2005 Unaizah Festival
the Al Ghadha Desert Festival
Built in 1955, Al Bassam Mansion is one of the main tourist attractions in Unaizah

There are twelve tourist festivals and activities recognized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities, and a calendar has been made for these events.

Unaizah, has renewed its status as a trailblazer of Tourism in the Qassim Province

— Prince Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud (the Governor of Al-Qassim and Chairman of the province's Tourism Council)[10]

The tourist attractions in Unaizah range from festivals to private meetings in family ranches. Some of the most notable venues in which festivals are held are the following:

There are five hotels in Unaizah, two of which are currently under construction, in addition to the rental apartments and suites distributed all around the city:

Although Unaizah is thought to be relatively more accepting of visitors than its neighbors, its tourism industry faces criticism for a number of reasons. One such criticism is its disregard for infrastructure maintenance.[11]



All of the Saudi citizens of Unaizah are Sunni Muslim with a small minority of Dharmic religions, (mostly Hinduism) brought and practiced in the city by Asian workers (mainly Indians). As the rest of Saudi Arabian cities, non-Islamic worship houses are not allowed. The majority of the city's inhabitants are socially conservative. One of Saudi Arabia's leading religious clerics Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen was a student of the Sheikh Abd ar-Rahman ibn Nasir as-Sa'di, an Unaizah native. Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen was born and raised in Unaizah. He lived in Unaizah where many mosques have been built and named after him.


The Qassimi cuisine in general, and the cuisine of Unaizah is very famous for its delicious food, and for its renowned and tasty traditional meals such as Jereesh, Margoug, Gersan, and Metazeez.

As for sweets, along with other Qassimi sweets, the Qassimi Kleeja is a well-known sweet all over Saudi Arabia and in Eastern Arabia.

Like other Saudi cities, the Najdi Kabsa is the most traditional lunch. The Yemeni Mandi is also popular as a lunch meal.

Western origin junk foodis also popular in the city. McDonald's, Subway, Starbucks, Domino's Pizza, Herfy, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, Little Caesars, Hardee's, and KFC among others are widely distributed in Unaizah.


Unaizah is very active in terms of sports. Football is the most popular sport all over Saudi Arabia, and it is very popular in Unaizah, it is played in school's P.E. (i.e. Physical Education) lessons, and it is common to see a group of kids playing it in the streets.

There are two local clubs in Unaizah, the Saudi Al Najmah club, and the Al Arabi club.


The city has experienced very high rates of population growth. Unaizah officially counted population in the city limits in 2010 was 163,729.


Unaizah is served by six major Arabic-language newspapers, Al Jazirah, Al Riyadh, Okaz, Al Watan, Al Hayat, Al Yaum. Unaizah has one local magazine, that issues every four months, it is called Paris Najd, named after the widest spread nickname of Unaizah. In addition to many other national and international magazines distributed everywhere in the city's markets.

Television stations serving the city area include Saudi TV1, Saudi TV2, Saudi TV Sports, Al Ekhbariyah, ART channels network and hundreds of cable, satellite and other specialty television providers.

The Ruling Dynasty[]

The city has been ruled by the Al Sulaim family since 1818. They came to power when Prince Yehya Al-Sulaim in 1822 killed the governor appointed by the Ottoman emperor, Abdullah Al-Jamei. This dynasty still rules the city according to a written treaty between them and the Saudi royal family. Some of the most famous families in Saudi Arabia originate from Unaizah, including Al Juffali, Al Ohaly, Alsmaeel, AlGarawi, Al Abalkhail, Al Ghothami, Al Hatlani, Al Ghumayz, Al Sulaiman, Al Hamdan, Al Akeel, Al Fadl, Al Tamimi, Al Zamil, Al Olayan, Al Bassam, Al Gadhi, Al Matrody, Al Salloum, Al Saheel, Al Subaiee, Al Senany, Al Mansour, Al Yahya, Al Thukair, Al Turki, Al Dubayan, Al Shoshan, Al Shubaili, Al Shebel, Al Damigh, Al Othaimeen, Al Malloohi, Al Marzooki, Al Manei, Al Se'di, Al Abeeki, Al Houthi, Al Khwaiter, Al Sowayil, Al Daffaa, Al Jaffali, Al Dukhayyel, Al Dakheel, Al Abdeli, Al Suhaimi, families and many others.

Notable people[]

Unaizah Governor Musaad Al-Sulim from (2007–2011).

Unaizah in the news[]

Unaizah is well known for its hospitality, hence, there are a variety of tourism Festivals in the year. These include dates, and healthy crops festivals. There is also a bi-annual cultural festival which is a trademark for this city. It was the only city of the Najd region to invite a Saudi Shiite cleric to speak in a public event, in a grass-roots effort to promote a united national identity. This drew criticism from conservatives in neighboring cities.[citation needed]


See also[]


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2011-08-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-18. Retrieved 2011-08-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "YouTube video تقرير قناة الجزيرة عن مهرجان تمور عنيزة الرابع 1429 هــ". Archived from the original on 2021-12-13.
  4. ^ Hot Dates in the Saudi Desert -- The world’s second-largest date festival shifts into high gear., Andrew Leber, Slate.com, 2017-09-25
  5. ^ الكنز الثمين في شخصية د. عبدالعزيز الخويطر
  6. ^ "علم من أعلام عنيزة في اليونسكو .. د. ابتسام البسام". www.unaizah.net.
  7. ^ "جريدة دولية تتحدث عن تسامح عـنيزة وتطرف بريدة". Archived from the original on 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  8. ^ "ادارة التربية والتعليم للبنات بمحافظة عنيزة". Archived from the original on 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  9. ^ "عنيزة ...باريــــــس نجــــد ...وإعجاب أمين الريحاني". www.unaizah.net.
  10. ^ "Loading..." onaizah.net.
  11. ^ "سياحة عنيزة تنقصها البنية التحتية". Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  12. ^ "Abdullah Al Dabibi - [PPT Powerpoint]". vdocuments.site.
  13. ^ "Sabic Americas Inc in Houston, TX 77216 - (713) 532-4999 - ChamberofCommerce.com". www.chamberofcommerce.com.
  14. ^ "Saudi Arabia Closes In On WTO Accession" (PDF).
  15. ^ "Sabic Americas ... SABIA'S FUTURE NATURE - Texas business directory". bizstanding.com.
  16. ^ "Saudi girl, 12, drops bid to divorce 80-year-old". 2010-02-02.
  17. ^ "Saudi girl, 12, drops push to divorce octogenarian". 2010-02-02.
  18. ^ "الحارس النجماوي الدبيبي في حديث لـ الجزيرة". www.al-jazirah.com.
  19. ^ "Twitter / Account Suspended". twitter.com.
  20. ^ "من هو؟ لاعب سابق - صحيفة سبورت السعودية".
  21. ^ "ايقاف حارس العربي 3 شهور". alyaum. January 8, 2003.
  22. ^ "Davide Andreani Coca-cola Home Page - Coca-cola CANS Collectors". www.ad-informatica.com.
  23. ^ "Photo".
  24. ^ "وفاة لاعب نادي التعاون السابق الكابتن عبدالرحمن الدبيبي (رحمه الله) - صحيفة أخر خبر الالكترونية". www.akherkhbr.com.
  25. ^ Al-Olayan Leads Forbes' Top Arab Businesswomen List
  26. ^ "سليمان العليان.. من عنيزة إلى وول ستريت".

External links[]

Coordinates: 26°05′02″N 43°59′38″E / 26.084°N 43.994°E / 26.084; 43.994 (Unaizah)