KSA

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla hosts first-ever Ancient Kingdoms Festival

Visitors can ride hot air balloons, visit open-air galleries and dine by UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

AlUla is one of the most impressive historical sights in Saudi Arabia, as it combines history with modernity. The area is home to UNESCO World Heritage Site and hosts world-famous concerts – John Legend, anyone? This month there’s even more reason to visit, as it debuts the Ancient Kingdoms Festival. Bringing together a dazzling line-up of cultural activities, it runs from 11 to 27 November.

Ancient Kingdoms Festival gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the region’s historic sights through one-of-a-kind experiences. AlUla is home to more than 2,000 years of history, and only recently opened up to tourists. With history to match Jordan’s Petra and Egypt’s Giza, it is unique for not (yet) being overrun with tourists, and for its curated, high-end travel experiences.

Ancient Kingdoms Festival

During the Ancient Kingdoms Festival, guests can learn about the Nabatean civilisation, which dates back to the first century AD. Guests will not only be able to access AlUla, but also the oases Khaybar and Tamya. Khaybar contains a rich volcanic desert ecosystem, and Tamya was once home to the last Babylonian king. 

Ancient Kingdoms Festival is hosting open-air galleries, hot air balloons from Khaybar, and dining experiences with a front-row seat to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra. There are plenty of ways to experience the historical sight of Hegra in all its glory, from going tomb hopping by candlelight to visiting on a horse and carriage.

Ancient Kingdoms Festival

While you’re in the area, pay a visit to AlUla’s Maraya. AlUla’s Maraya is the world’s largest mirrored building, and beautifully reflects the desert landscape of Ashar Valley. The stunning building includes a concert hall that welcomes celebrity performers, and restauranteur Jason Atherton’s Maraya Social.

Previous concerts include Alicia Keys, Angham, Guy Manoukian, Souad Massi and Westlife. Upcoming concerts include the American rock band OneRepublic on 10 November, and soul sensation John Legend on 11 November.

AlUla, you never fail to impress. 

GO: Visit www.experiencealula.com for more information.

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Kohinoor Sahota - Deputy Editor
A sucker for a good story, if you invite Kohinoor to a gallery, comedy night, new restaurant, hiking trip, cycle ride, pool day or just about any activity, preferably with the promise of wine, she’ll probably say yes – that is if she isn’t busy planning her next adventure.

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