A'arif Castle is located in the Ha'il region and is considered one of the most important cultural and archaeological structures there. It was built during the rule of the Al-Ali dynasty, which began at the end of the 11th century AH and lasted until the beginning of the 12th century AH.
When the castle was built, it was for an important purpose, which is surveillance, and therefore it was designed in a simple geometric shape, as it has also undergone many repairs and restorations over the years, especially during the reign of the Rashid family, and until the era of Saudi rule, reaching the current form of what it is now
They used it for reconnaissance and to see the crescent (Al-Hilal) to know the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan, and it was also where the Ramadan cannon was fired
The castle was built of milk clay and covered an area of 440 square meters on top of a 650-meter-high mountain known as Mount A'arif, after which the castle was named.
It was also considered in the building of the castle the creation of openings and towers to ease the watch through them so that the soldiers can defend the people of the city from the threats of invaders and opponents, and thus it is the city's faithful guardian.
Since the reign of Al Rashid, the castle has been subjected to further modifications and additions until it has reached its current shape, which is a rectangular Castle with a medium size, surrounded by solid walls with a very large number of openings to ensure defense and rain drainage.
When you visit it, you will find it fully equipped with everything that a soldier needs to defend the city, available sleeping places, storage rooms, a place for prayer, and toilets. It is equipped with about 30 observation towers, and the most important feature of the castle is its huge wooden doors carved and decorated with wonderful inscriptions indicating luxury, where the castle building was established in a graduated conical shape with dimensions of 11 meters by 40 meters
Over time, the castle turned from a place of Defense and observation of enemies to a place that is used to monitor the movement of the crescent moon, and to know the beginning of the month of Ramadan by it, as a Ramadan cannon is fired through it to alert fasting people about Iftar times (the evening meal), and then it has turned into a tourist shrine.
When the month of fasting begins, the cannon is ignited and fired seven times to warn the people of Ha'il that the holy month of Ramadan has begun. It made a loud noise at Iftar and at dawn to alert fasting people to eat. At the end of Ramadan, seven shots are fired to notify Muslims that Eid al-Fitr is approaching.
It is one of the famous castles located in Ḥa'il and one of the most important historical and cultural places that tourists constantly seek to visit, it is located on the southern side of Ḥa'il
The castle also has an archaeological heritage museum that tourists from outside and inside Saudi Arabia always seek to visit. It is characterized by durability and rigidity designed to demonstrate the ability of Saudis in construction and building. It has not been affected over time as it remained coherent. It expresses the history and the ability of the residents of Hail City to design such artworks.
They took good care in building the castle on a high mountain away from the city to the south to monitor the lurkers and enemies to confront them before they even entered or stormed the city.
It is one of the most important historical landmarks in the city of Ḥa'il, and that is why visitors and tourists are looking forward to visiting it and seeing its splendour design.