Al Ula is a place of extraordinary cultural and natural heritage. Stretching across 22,561km2. Its unique landscape includes a lush oasis valley and spectacular sandstone mountains that have provided an impressive backdrop for thousands of years of history. To put the scale into context, it covers an area similar in size to the nation of Belgium.

The Al Ula oasis is in the Wadi Al-Qura (the Valley of Villages), a valley of significant economic and cultural importance since ancient times (also known as the AlUla Valley). It is one of several oases in the Hijaz region of north-western Saudi Arabia, which, given their groundwater resources, were essential for the development of travel and trade. The AlUla region was a natural nexus and its bustling commercial centers developed largely along with one of the most important trading routes of the region, running north-south along the west side of the Arabian Peninsula, linking Arabia and India to the Mediterranean world across Egypt, to the Levant and beyond. This was for some time the Incense Route, transporting frankincense and myrrh from South Arabia northward, but also spices, semi-precious stones, and other luxury goods.

Once the southern capital of the Nabataean kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra’s stunning collection of over 100 monumental sandstone tombs stands in silent testimony to AlUla’s rich and fascinating heritage.

pierre zabbal


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