Commanding rock formations, captivating sand dunes, and archaeological ruins including sites that trace a region with over 200,000 years of human history, much of which is yet to be fully discovered – AlUla unveils itself to the discerning traveller layer by layer in an unhurried manner. Add to this, the charm of the 12-week desert carnival of ‘Winter at Tantora‘ that takes you back thousands of years and further elevates your experience. By Amitha Ameen
Tightly packed mud and stone houses, rising red-sandstone cliffs and a general mystery in the air is what one can except while stepping into AlUla. Apart from being home to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra (also known more recently as Mada’in Salih), AlUla also played capital to the ancient kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan.
Within a short span of time, the ancient caravan city of AlUla in northwest Saudi Arabia has gone from being relatively unknown to fast becoming the most sought-after destination for travellers across the world.
AlUla offers an escape from the daily grind with authentic experiences set in a dramatic location. Exploring ancient volcanoes, secret canyons, undiscovered wonders and desert valleys through camel rides, helicopter tours or by foot are just some of the many ways to discover more of this historic jaw-dropping location.
The fertile oasis was once a welcoming haven for travellers who passed through, as a result of AlUla’s strategic location on the ancient trade and pilgrimage routes that connected southern Arabia with Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and beyond. AlUla keeps up with history by offering an understated comfort in some of the beautifully located resorts, which provide sweeping views of the rock formations or let you enjoy the intrinsic stillness of the star-studded night sky in the desert.
We give you three reasons to be one of the first people to visit and explore this epic destination when AlUla fully opens to visitors in late 2020.
– Travel through time across centuries and unlock age-old mysteries, from pre-historic times to the kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan, the Nabataeans to the Islamic period and present day.
– Discover and unearth clues of the people that lived here and the many languages that they inscribed and wrote on the rocks and walls around them, the natural and man-made rock formations and well-preserved tombs – many of which feature inscriptions in multiple languages.
– Attend Winter at Tantora, a 12-week festival in the middle of the desert amongst historical, archaeological and geographical sites that hold thousands of years of history. Between birds-eye-views of this otherworldly landscape from hot air balloon rides to dining amongst breathtaking surroundings, or listening to world-renowned artists performing at Maraya, the mirrored concert hall in the desert – the experiences at AlUla are endless.