Saudi Arabia’s ‘AlUla’ a Place Of History, Heritage And Wonder

Saudi Arabia's 'AlUla' a Place Of History, Heritage And Wonder

24 hours at the Winter at Tantora festival serves up a taste of luxury, adventure, and local culture all against the awe-inspiring backdrop of AlUla

For most of the year, time still stands in AlUla.

You feel the weight of 200,000 years of history etched into its stones, sands and mountains. The stars light up an expanse that is serene, criss-crossed with trails that once bore the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia and now provide succor and sustenance to the great Arabian Leopard.It is a space of gentle silence.

Against this backdrop, this winter, AlUla will play host to a different kind of sound, action and legend. The region’s grandest cultural festival, Winter at Tantora, is back for its second season after its successful debut last year. If you ended up missing last year’s show, this year’s festival promises to be even more mesmerizing and energizing.

Families, friends, couples and solo travelers can now drop in on the festival for one day with the SAR 300 One Day, Your Way package that covers onsite transportation so that festival goers can pick and choose their favourite activities.

With a canvas as vast as AlUla, there is something for everyone – the adventure seeker, the foodie, the art and culture lover, music fan, the history buff…the list goes on. Here are a few picks: Conquer the Skies: Start your day with a jolt by flying in a vintage aircraft, with an open cockpit! Feel the exhilaration of swooping past the ancient wonders of AlUla like the Elephant Rock, Hegra, and the Old Town in a World War II-era Harvard Advanced Fighter Trainer or a 1930’s era Boeing Stearman biplane. Flying will never be the same again.

Discover the Past:

After the rush of an epic flight, take a trip into the past with one of the heritage sites tours and explore the marvels of Hegra, Dadan or Jabal Ikmah. Become one a select few to witness the remnants of a 2000-year old civilization hidden in plain sight. Open to children and adults of all ages. Tours will be led by trained guides and storytellers who will host groups and reveal the stories of the site and the inscriptions. Prices range from SAR 50 – 75.

Get Local:

Step into the Wadi Al Qura market, where you get to meet the true heart ofAlUla– its people – and peruse their beautifully crafted handmade products. Watch craftsman employ ancient techniques to create the most marveloussouvenirs and sample some delightful local delicacies.  Open to children and adults of all ages. Entry is priced at SAR 151. Children enter for free.

Find the Trail: 

After you are fed and watered, jump on a bike and enjoya ride along the Hijaz Railway – the site made famous by Lawrence of Arabia during the Great Arab Revolt.

Nature-lovers can opt for the The Arabian Leopard Trail’ – a 4X4 excursion andhiking tour – to bask in AlUla’s geological heritage whilst The Contemporary Caravan Trail’ – a horse-drawn or carriage excursion across AlUla’s scenic expanse – offers a unique experience. ‘The Lost Knight Trail’ – thrilling combination of hiking, camelback riding and a 4X4 ride – is for the adventure seekers.

The AlUla Trails are open ages 17 and above with prices starting from SAR 376.

Art of the Matter:

Next, a respite from the great outdoors, Yayoi Kusama’s iconic Mirror Room is a room that never ends. Thefamed Japanese contemporary artist brings her art installation, “Brilliance of the Souls” which has been hosted around the world, to AlUla to create a magical moment of wonder.

Music in the Maraya:

Every Friday evening, Maraya Concert Hall will ring with the music of some of the world’s greatest musicians – from the classical oeuvre of Omar Khairat, Beethoven (performed by Renaud Capucon, Lit Armstrong, Edgar Moreau, GuillameChilemme, Adrien La Marca and the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulous), Andrea Bocelli as well as the chart-topping hits of Lionel Richie, Gipsy Kings, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Enrique Iglesias and the genre-defying music of Il Divo and Yanni. Don’t miss these once-in-a-lifetime performances.

Grab a bite:

Cap the day off with a delicious meal. Step into Annabel’s – the infamous London hotspot will be opening a chic pop-up to AlUla visitors – for a refined and sophisticated meal in a setting reminiscent of its London base.  Alternatively, the serious gourmande would appreciate the Rotating Chefs experience – a premium six course gastronomic extravaganza, curated by Michelin-starred chefs and set under the stars and amidst the beautiful locales of Hegra. Annabel’s is open to guests of all ages. Rotating Chefs is open to ages 16 and above.

For more information on Winter at Tantora and the travel packages, visit experiencealula.com.

The standard and build-your-own one-day, weekend and Diamond + packages  can also be booked via experiencealula.com, holidaysbysaudia.com or almosafer.com/en/winter-at-tantora

The Winter at Tantora festival will take place from December 19th, 2019 – March 7th, 2020 in AlUla, Saudi Arabia. Details about the festival, its line-up and exceptional surroundings can be found at experiencealula.com with tickets on sale now.

To stay up to date, please follow @WinteratTantora on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or follow the hashtag #ChooseYourEpic

About Winter at Tantora Festival

Winter at Tantora is a festival in AlUla County in North-West Saudi Arabia, a place of extraordinary natural beauty and cultural heritage. Running from 19th December 2019 to 7th March 2020, Winter at Tantora will bring 12-weekends of wonder to the AlUla Oasis, inspired by its spectacular scenery. Home to archeological treasures, natural beauty and magnificent monuments that span millennia, AlUla is set on the ancient incense route between Southern Arabia and Egypt. It became a hub of commercial and cultural exchange because a lush oasis valley ran through it, creating an ideal environment for civilizations to flourish.