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GCC dispute

Saudi Arabia’s ancient city of AlUla hosts the 41st GCC Summit

Published: Updated:

Saudi Arabia’s ancient city of AlUla hosted the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit of Gulf leaders for the first time on Tuesday.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa was the first to arrive at the Prince Abdul Majeed Bin Abdulaziz Domestic Airport in AlUla. He was shortly followed by Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said.

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The United Arab Emirates’ Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah arrived at AlUla shortly after.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, along with the Qatari delegation, joined the Gulf leaders as well.

A historic city

Located in the north-west of Saudi Arabia, AlUla is known for its rocky structures, and ancient engravings. The city lies along the historic trade route linking the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Egypt.

AlUla, which houses dozens of artefacts that date back to 900 B.C., is also on track to becoming the world’s largest open museum.

Visitors walk outside the tombs at the Madain Saleh antiquities site, AlUla. (File photo: Reuters)
Visitors walk outside the tombs at the Madain Saleh antiquities site, AlUla. (File photo: Reuters)

In 2018, the carved mountains of AlUla became Saudi Arabia's first historical site to be placed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO's) World Heritage List.

The GCC Summit will be taking place at the Maraya Concert Hall, the world’s largest mirror-clad building, according to the Guinness World Records.

A view of the facade of the Maraya (Arabic for “Mirror”) concert hall hosting the first “Winter at Tantora” music carnival in the ruins of Al-Ula. (File photo: AFP)
A view of the facade of the Maraya (Arabic for “Mirror”) concert hall hosting the first “Winter at Tantora” music carnival in the ruins of Al-Ula. (File photo: AFP)

The 500-seat venue has hosted several cultural events, including the Winter at Tantora Festival.

The 41st GCC Summit is expected to see a signing ceremony unifying Qatar with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait three years after diplomatic and trade ties were severed.

In a sign of a major breakthrough between the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia reopened its airspace, and land and sea borders to Qatar on Monday night, Kuwait’s foreign minister announced ahead of the event.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince: AlUla GCC Summit to promote unified path

Qatar’s Emir confirms attendance at GCC Summit in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

GCC welcomes Saudi-Qatar borders reopening announcement