AlUla, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – :
AlUla Moments has been mesmerising visitors to the ancient city with events and festivals inspired by the culture, heritage and nature in its extraordinary landscapes.
With a series of outdoor music performances, indoor concerts at Maraya or cultural tours to ancient oases and heritage sites as part of the Ancient Kingdoms Festival, every moment is worth celebrating at AlUla.
This November, AlUla Moments introduced the first edition of the Ancient Kingdoms Festival. Named after the legendary ancient kingdoms of Arabia, this Festival connects AlUla with the historical areas of Khaybar and Tayma, to unlock exciting, epic and immersive experiences that bring to life stories of millennia, reaching across successive civilisations and interconnecting the great cultures of ancient history.
Listing the highlight of events taking place in AlUla until the end of November:
- 18th November: Multi Grammy Award-winning Usher at Maraya
R&B singer and one of the best sellers in American history, megastar Usher will perform at the iconic Maraya, the world’s largest mirrored building. In addition to being a philanthropist through his humanitarian efforts, Usher has changed music and culture From his landmark album ‘Confessions’ in 2004 to his blockbuster 2021 Las Vegas residency, Usher’s AlUla debut is set to be an unforgettable night.
- 18th November: Faia Younan at Elephant Rock
Faia Younan, the Syrian artist and singer will return to AlUla for the second time to perform an outdoor concert at the landmark of Elephant Rock site on 18th November 2022, accompanied by Maestro and Musician Rayan Habre to lead the music band.
The sold-out concert will be livestreamed on AlUla Moments YouTube Channel on Friday 18th November 2022 at 5:45 PM as well as broadcasted on mbc4 TV channel on Saturday 19th November 2022 at 8:00 PM.
- 24th November: Music in Ancient Eras with Maestro Naseer Shamma
Maestro Naseer Shamma and his musical group, The Peace Builders, will return to AlUla to perform Music in Ancient Eras, an atmospheric musical night dedicated to the history of the Arabic Music and stories from around the world.
The concert will take place on the evening of 24th November, 2022 at the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra. In a spectacular display of light, music and storytelling, Maestro Naseer Shamma and The Peace Builders will perform live – continuing this tradition of stories passing from thousands of generations before.
- 26th and 27th November: World Premiere of Chinese Performance Nine Songs at Valley of the Arts (Wadi AlFann)
Nine Songs, created by Chinese musician, vocalist and artistic director Rui Fu, brings together a world-class ensemble of performers from across the globe. Working with artistic co-director Farooq Chaudhry and musical director Jocelyn Pook, Fu’s new work is inspired by the Chinese Songs of Chu an ancient anthology of romantic Chinese poetry from the 1st century BC, while responding to the dramatic topography and remarkable geological structures of AlUla.
The musical performance will take place in the Wadi AlFann landscape on Saturday 26th November and Sunday 27th November 2022 for a very limited number of attendees in a one-hour performance. The performance, which has been developed and curated for AlUla’s landscapes, will then tour around the world starting with the Edinburgh Festival. The interpretation of Nine Songs once seen in the magnificent setting of AlUla brings together Arab and Chinese beauty in an exciting contemporary way. Nine Songs is art in the landscape in a way that’s never been seen before.
- Available until 18th March 2023: Day Trip to the Neighboring oasis of Tayma
As part of AlUla Moments Ancient Kingdoms Festival, visitors to AlUla can enjoy a day trip to Tayma, an archaeological treasure trove with discoveries continuing to reveal the legacy of kings and the ambition of successive civilisations.
The tour is available for booking daily until 18th March 2023, including the following activities:
- The Ancient Temple of Salm – a superb vantage point to what was once a paleolake, and home to the remains of a complex of Iron Age temples.
- Bir Haddaj – an iconic well many believe to have been built by the last Babylonian king, Nabonidus and the setting for a fascinating re-enactment of life in the oasis.
- Suq AlNajm Oasis – trail and marketplace, an opportunity to experience the living traditions of Tayma.
- Qasr Ibn Rumman (Governor’s Palace) – an atmospheric example of Arabian architecture, experienced by audio guide experience and hosting an immersive show after dark.
- Fron 26th November 2022 to 19th March 2023: Day Trip to Khaybar, the geological-gem oasis
Khaybar is famous as a market town and for the surrounding geology of the white and black volcanos as well as the mysterious prehistoric stone structures in the shape of kites, keyholes and rectangles – best seen by air. The sites will continue to be activated for excursions from AlUla.
The first-glimpse tour of Khaybar will start on 26th November 2022 and runs until 19th March 2022. The oasis is revealed through tethered hot air balloon rides and helicopter excursions to give bird’s eye view of its landscape that is home to:
- AEON – a unique ‘off the grid’ nature and culinary accommodation experience staying in a luxury glamp site in an otherworldly landscape near the Harrat Khaybar volcanic site.
- AlRawan – another excellent vantage point interlinking the oases, and the first point of entry to exploring Khaybar.
- Adventure trails through the Umm Jirsan lava tubes and caves.
- Stories From The Skies – an aerial spectacular bringing together drone, narrative and landscape as night falls.
- Drone show – A 15 minute aerial spectacular drone show, supported by soundtrack, ambient lighting, and powerful narration. 1250 xenon flash drone will light the skies along with a live 18 piece orchestra will create an epic connection between the lands and the skies.
- Available until 27th November 2022: Hegra After Dark
Hegra After Dark returns to the UNESCO World’s Heritage Site of Hegra, bringing 3 activities to the visitors of AlUla to immerse them in an unforgettable night and with a journey back in time to the Nabataean civilisation.
Awaken the Senses, offers the sights, sounds, and tastes of this ancient civilisation. Lounge by a small cluster of burial tombs surrounded by a breathtaking candlelight display as you listen to the soft sounds of ancient instruments and dine on a Nabataean inspired assortment of canapes.
Horse and Carriage ride in specially designed wooden carriagesby Majestic Arabian horses for a starlit tour around the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra. Pass by mythical tombs as your chariot captain tells tales of this magnificent capital city located on the famed Incense Road while you ride towards the AlHaritha (Aretas) IV Immersive Show.
Enter into the ethereal fortress of King AlHaritha(Aretas) IV and watch an exciting historical performance. Beginning with a royal procession, the show focuses on a famous Nabatean King who ruled for 49 years and fiercely protected the ancient trade capital of Hegra.
- From 18th November until 3rd December 2022: Ikmah After Dark
AlUla’s place in the development of language and communication is best explored at the extraordinary site of Jabal Ikmah, or open-air library. With this first-of-its-kind after-dark tour, the rock art and inscriptions at this special place in history are brought to life for 2 weeks only from 18th November 2022 until 3rd December 2022.
The evening starts with a Candlelit Night Tour: An Open Library of the inscriptions that span millennia, where narrators will unlock the secrets to a unique time in the history of AlUla, visitors will
A Café Reception at the Heritage Café will then offer a dazzling reception with a wide array of delicious canapes and fresh juices. Stories will be told and music will be played as learn to write their name in Dadanite script.
The event ends with the Immersive Interactive Shadow Show, this performance dives deeper into the lives of the ancient people of the ancient civilisation of Dadan.
- Available until 21st March 2023: Tour at Hegra by Horse Carriage:
Visitors will be able to experience Hegra, the UNESCO World heritage Site just like the ancient Nabataeans would have atop a handcrafted wooden horse carriage in a private tour.
The Rawi (storyteller) will lead visitors through each stop on the tour. The tour starts with the iconic Tomb of Lihyan son of Kuza, followed by Jabal Banat and Jabal Ahmar. Hegra contains more than 110 remarkably well-preserved tombs carved into the stunning sandstone landscape of AlUla. The activity runs until 21st March 2022.
- Available until 28th January 2023: AlUla On Wheels
The popular event of AlUla on Wheels, curated by Swizz Beats is now extended to entertain more visitors with its glowing neon lights and dance music.
Running every week from Wednesday to Saturday in an old school at AlJadidah arts precinct, this immersive experience brings the free-flowing nature of roller skating to AlUla, a cultural movement that has recently had a resurgence in popularity across the world.
AlUla on Wheels is suitable for everyone – from beginners and pro skate fans to families and groups of friends. Food kiosks feature a selection of popular and delectable retro eats.
During weekends, AlUla on Wheels will feature DJ Nights, a unique party for 2 hours on Thursdays and Fridays, while the daily skating sessions run from Wednesday to Saturday for 45 minutes slots.
- Permanent: Visit to AlManshiyah Plaza
AlUla’s newest gathering place, AlManshiyah Plaza, is a lively community with restaurants and cafes, playgrounds and communal areas, and live music on Fridays. After the careful restoration of the ancient Hijaz Railway Station, AlManshiyah Plaza is a breath of new life in this historic AlUla neighbourhood and will be open permanently for AlUla visitors and locals.
AlManshiyah Plaza is a family friendly area, as the children will be able to enjoy the kids playing area: climbing structures, slides and more, while parents will be able to enjoy the shaded seating areas and their favorite food and beverage from the available retailers.
- Permanent : Visit to AlJadidah and Incense Road Market
As an ever-growing precinct, AlUla’s new arts district will continue to deliver new and exciting events and experiences including the new arts and design gallery, a library and more.
Beautiful murals bring a localartistic touch to this pedestrian-friendly area, which features the world’s largest hand-painted urban carpet. Centrally located, AlJadidah is home to a wide variety of shops, restaurants, galleries, an arthouse cinema, an open-air roller rink, art and music schools and more.
Explore six distinct areas, Art Square, Gathering Square, Incense Road, Muayada Square, Qanat Square, and Oasis Quarter, each with its own unique atmosphere.
New restaurants are now open, new activations of music played by Saudi musicians in the arts and Oasis squares to see.
The Incense Road section of AlJadidah is being transformed into an all-new leisure and retail experience, helping to connect AlJadidah with AlUla Old Town. Preserving the area’s urban heritage, visitors will find curated street art and public murals, along with new cafes and retail stores, with more events and activities set to bring more entertainment to Aljadidah over the coming months.
AlUla is now easier to reach, as the new flight route from Cairo is available internationally with flynas, and starting from 20th November, flynas will operate 2 weekly flights to AlUla from Dubai. While the number of flights has increased this month from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam on SAUDIA and flynas. Alternatively, visitors can come by road trip from Madinah and Tabuk.