Tayma is a large oasis on the western edge of the al Nafud desert, the second of Arabia’s great sand deserts. It became an important stopping place for caravans on the incense route. The Babylonian king Nabonidus took up residence in Tayma for 10 years in the mid-6th century B.C. and extended his empire’s power as far as Yathrib (now Madinah).
The Bir Haddaj well is one of the largest and oldest wells in the Arabian peninsula, with a diameter of 65 metres and depth of 13 metres. Originally dug in the first millennium B.C, the well was lost in a flood in the fifth century A.D. During another flood in the seventh century the well was completely buried, until it was unearthed four centuries ago. It is said that up to 99 camels simultaneously drew water during mid-summer. Historically, Tayma is known for growing dates.
Bir Haddaj is mentioned in the Bible in reference to Tayma: “The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they met with their bread him that fled.” (Isa 21:14.7)