Saudi Arabia’s al-Ula city: An open museum of history, culture, artifacts

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The Saudi city of al-Ula is considered one of the leading tourist destinations in the kingdom, due to the host of monuments there, dating back to thousands of years, as well as natural attractions. More notably, the city is hosting the Tantoura Winter festival.

Al-Ula is considered one of the best preserved heritage sites in the world. It has historical monuments dating back thousands of years and is surrounded by natural beauty. The city is a testimony to how mankind was able to adapt to the nature-filled region, and invent new farming techniques to combat harsh desert conditions.

al-Ula city Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
al-Ula city Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

Festival-goers can enjoy the rich history of the city by visiting Madaen Saleh which was home to the Nabateans, as well as the Dadan Kingdom and the Black Cemeteries and the old town of al-Ula. The extraordinary city with its narrow alleys, and its historic mud-brick houses built on rocky bases gives a snippet of how life used to be in the city years ago.

The city is full of natural wonders, consisting of basaltic rock, formed by the lava flows of ancient times, and there are many sites dating back to prehistoric times, containing archaeological pieces, stone structures, engravings and drawings carved on rock.

Jabal Okma is an open historical library in Saudi Arabia, it contains hundreds of carvings on its rocky mound, as well as Elephant Mountain, which is the most famous site in Wadi Al Ula, a giant rock sandstone resembling an elephant.

al-Ula city Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
al-Ula city Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

The Tantoura festival, organized by the Royal Commission for al-Ula, provides visitors the opportunity to attend sound and light shows that tell the history of the city, the spice market, handmade crafts and music.

More events scheduled for the event include a violin show by musician Renaud Capuçon on January 4. On January 11, Egyptian artist Omar Khairat will perform a musical show while Lang Lang will be playing the piano on the evening of January 18.

al-Ula city Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
al-Ula city Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

The festival will also bring to life Umm Kalthoum through the Hologram technology while audience will enjoy the voice of the opera singer Andrea Bocelli on February 1.

The festival will conclude with the performance of Yani who is scheduled to make his second appearance in Saudi Arabia on the evening of February 8.

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