Saudi Arabia for some time has decided to remove the black veil that covered it by promoting some reforms and opening up to western tourism. Until 2018, those who wanted to visit Saudi Arabia had to sweat seven shirts to obtain a tourist visa, granted only to certain nationalities and with numerous restrictions on stay. Today it is easier to obtain a tourist visa to visit the natural wonders of Saudi Arabia, the Rub ‘al-Kali desert, the pristine coasts on the Red Sea and on the Persian Gulf, the Asir National Park and numerous archaeological sites, including Najran, an oasis inhabited for 4,000 years that preserves very important remains e Mada’in Salihl, an ancient city of the Hijaz, in which there are 131 sumptuous tombs carved into the rock and inhabited in ancient times, since 2008 among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
With a view to enhancing the archaeological heritage, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched a general plan for the enhancement of the archaeological area of AlUla. «The Journey Through Time»Is the name of the ambitious program which over 15 years aims to develop in a sustainable way the historic area through improvement interventions of the five districts that extend into the heart of 20 square km which will function as open-air museums. Each district will focus on a key historical site: AlUla Old Town, Jabal Ikmah, l’orizzonte nabateo, Dadan e Hegra Historical City.
THE WONDERS OF ALULA
Located 1.100km from Riyadh, AlUla it is a vast area covering 22,000 square meters, including lush oases, sandstone mountains and ancient sites that date back thousands of years. AlUla’s best known site is Hegra, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Saudi Arabia, the main southern city of the Nabataean kingdom – and Roman outpost – made up of nearly 100 still-intact tombs and elaborate facades carved into the sandstone rock.
In addition to Hegra, AlUla is home to a number of fascinating historical and archaeological sites such as the Old City, surrounded by an ancient oasis, Dadan, the capital of the Dadan and Lihyan kingdoms, considered one of the most developed cities of the first millennium BC in the Arabian Peninsula, and thousands of ancient rock art sites in Jabal Ikmah, as well as the train stations of Hijaz.
To the enhancement of the sites is added the need for the project to look to the future, safeguarding the cultural heritage and following the path of eco-sustainability. The construction of a green artery, recovery of an ancient oasis, will connect the five districts; hotels and resorts will be eco-sustainable and the Kingdoms Institute, a global hub for archaeological knowledge and research, will be dedicated to the cultures and civilizations that have inhabited this area for more than 7,000 years, including the ancient kingdoms of Dadan, Lihyan and the UNESCO-listed city of Hegra. For the transport will be realized a 46km tram line which will connect AlUla International Airport to the five districts, as well as a scenic route and cycle paths.
In the gallery above images and renderings of the next development