Milestone 26 – Distance: 4,530.2 km (92.8% – 30 April 2021
In past times the Arabian Peninsula found itself conveniently sandwiched between two great civilizations which created the ‘fertile crescent’; the Nile River Valley to the east and Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey and Syria) to the north.
Trade was crucial to the country’s development and camel ‘caravan’ routes were created to carry Arabian wares to these regions and as far as the Mediterranean Basin.
This was a time for great prosperity from 7th century BCE to the 2nd century CE. Traded items included almonds from Taif, dates from oases, and aromatics such as frankincense and myrrh (considered at times more precious than gold) from the Tihama plain. To the east of the Persian Gulf, trade links were extended to India and beyond, to include spices and silk, with other products from the Horn of Africa, including shipping routes.
Started over 4,000 years ago, the Incense Route ran along the west coast of today’s KSA, parallel to the Red Sea. Cities along this trade route prospered providing services to merchants and acting as international souks.
Arabian goods were in demand even through turbulent times of near neighbours and the great ancient civilizations; the large expanse of desert proving a great deterrent from invaders.