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Taif is located in the Western Sector of Saudi Arabia, near the summit of the mountain range known as the Hejaz. The city of Taif is situated 1700 meters above the Red Sea, between granite hills rising from the eastern slope of the Hejaz and the Asir or the "escarpment" leading to Jeddah 150 kilometers to the west. The location of Taif is at the point where routes from the south intersect those from east and west, and its proximity to Makkah, its hilly terrain, its green landscape, and favorable climate are the main reasons for the city's historical importance.

Administratively, Taif is a sub-unit of the Amirate of Makkah, whose headquarters are in the Holy City and is the main urban center of the Taif Amirate, which extends over an area of 18,000 square kilometers and supports a population of 450,000.

The main attractions include the souq, which is considered the most authentic in the Hejaz. In many alleyways lined with shops, the casual shopper can find carpets, tents, traditional embroidered dresses, hand-crafted jewelry, spices, and Bedouin handicrafts. The towns and villages surrounding Taif are inviting, but Al Shafa and Hadda particularly deserve visiting. Dramatic views, the variety of flora and fauna, and the cool crisp climate make these hill stations an attractive treat. Forty kilometers east of Taif in Wadi Layyah, the bedouin people conduct camel races hosted by the Saudi National Guard every July and August.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:40:29 ZULU