Rub' al Khali

The Empty Quarter

The Rub' al Khali is located in southern third of the Arabian peninsula, and encompasses parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE.

The Rub' al Khali is the largest sandy desert in the world. It has often been described as "an ocean of sand".

Rub' al Khali directly translates to "The Empty Quarter", and indeed there are no cities in the empty quarter, but there are tribal settlements along the periphery of the desert. Bedouin tribes do roam the desert, but in considerably less numbers and living in harsher conditions than their northern brethren.


The Empty Quarter is the most oil rich area site in the entirety of the Middle East, and possibly the world. Beneatht he sand dunes of the desert many reserves have been discovered, and research into further possible sites in the interior are ongoing.

The Empty Quarter has also played host to a number of legends concerning a lost city on the Arabian Peninsula, a so-called "Atlantis of the Sands". Desertification and the expansion of the desert almost two thousand years ago is believed to have been the cause for the severing of a lucrative frankincense in the south of the peninsula. Proponents of the lost city's existence claim it was a center of trade before a natural disaster struck, most likely a sandstorm triggered by the desertification. The picture on the left shows a site researcher in particular believed to have once been a fortress, and possibly the location of a buried city.
Crossing the Empty Quarter has always been tough, with temperatures reaching 130 degrees Fahrenheit, a lack of shade and water sources. Few can claim to have ever accomplished the task of taminig the wilds of the Empty Quarter.