Explore AlUla, which is home to Saudi Arabia`s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, stunning rock formations, canyons and more. This historic destination with cutting-edge art installations, a vast desert and a plethora of natural assets is an archaeological wonder. The legacy of 7000 years of human civilization makes the city attractive. AlUla is a city in the Medina region in northwest Saudi Arabia. The city lies within the Governorate of `Ula and is one of the seven in the Medina region. It is located 300 km north of Medina with a population of 5426. We put together 7 interesting facts about AlUla that will inspire you to make the city part of your global bucket list.
Interesting Facts About AlUla, Saudi Arabia
1. Hegra – Saudi Arabia`s first UNESCO World Heritage Site
AlUla was once a major trade hub along the ancient incense route. It helped to connect the Arabian Peninsula with Mediterranean countries. Less than 22 km from AlUla is the most stunning setting of the Nabataean Civilisation. The Hegra site goes back in time to the middle of the first century BCE which is an archaeological gem.
The route played a role for caravans towards Makkah until the 20th century. This dramatic stone city with more than a hundred well-preserved tombs is an elite burial place. The monumental tombs with artists’ carvings symbolize an interesting fact of the ancient society that once lived.
2. An Outdoor Natural Wonder & Museum – a world`s masterpiece
AlUla’s fascinating fact is that nature has curated an outdoor museum in the various rock formations, canyons, cliffs and majestic wonders of ancient settlers. The Jabal AlFil is located 11km northeast of AlUla and is a spectacular example of the natural forces of wind and water.
This famous AlUla tourist attraction is a 50 meters tall elephant rock that rises 171 ft into the air with a mountainous backdrop. Jabal Al Rukkab or Dancing Rocks is a piece of natural art, a silhouette of three spiralling rock formations called Dancing Rocks, sculpted by strong winds and sand. Or the Harrat Uwayrid, an iconic landscape formed over the years with wide expanses of igneous basalt columns. These facts and more make AlUla a natural wonder and a must-visit destination.
3. Refreshing AlUla Oasis – your wellness zone
AlUla Valley is a lush haven that thrives on a drainage basin and natural springs. The AlUla Oasis is within the Wadi AlQura or the Valley of Villages. The incredible fact of nature is the famous date and palm groves, citrus trees and the rich harvests of oats, wheat, barley, olives, figs and nuts that make the region incredibly beautiful.
Embark in a nature stroll through AlUla farms and take an Oasis trail from Dadan South passing by the AlWadi area to reach AlUla Old Town. The trail under the canopy of date palm trees and generous lush green and brown plant life is replenishing. The 3 km long stroll is a must for nature-lovers and as a wellness tour suitable for families and farm lovers.
4. Stargazing Delights of the Milky Way at AlGharam El – say hello to the desert stars
The sky in Saudi Arabia is clear most of the year, a fact that makes AlGharam El an adventurer`s delight. See a zillion stars on the horizon of AlUla and pick the dates as per the lunar calendar month. Al Gharam El has dark-coloured straight pillars that make stargazing even more stellar. Here you can enjoy a Bedouin-style camping experience with an expert guide. The tour will let you indulge in the stars and constellations and will give you first-hand knowledge of the beautiful sky above. The traditional campsite will allow you to relate to AlUla`s culture and heritage. The wonders of the peaceful Arabian desert and a chance to connect with nature are where you can return to simpler times. Watch for tiny pieces of quartz scattered on the sandy grounds that sparkle.
5. Magical AlUla Old Town – the charm of the old town is calling
The historical Old Town is along the pilgrimage route from Damascus to Makkah. The 12th century Old Town has houses designed to be attached to one another so as to provide fortification. There are 12 gates that allow access into the grand city that used to open in the mornings to welcome travellers.
The ancient city’s history paints a story of lives inside the walls that remains a memory. It has 900 mud-brick houses, 400 shops and five rahbas or town squares. The remarkable site is a factual wonder whose mudbrick structures of the original stone, winding alleyways, windows peeping into hidden lanes and rooftop terraces gives us a glimpse of the world centuries ago. A sundial in the town lets residents know about the changing season. Stop by at Suhail restaurant that serves high-end Saudi cuisine that you can indulge in on a tour.
6. Siq at Jabal Ithlib – for the beauty of peeping sunrays
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hegra that is a colossal and spectacular factual wonder. It is famous for religious rituals which can be reached via a narrow passageway through a gorge known as Siq. This well-known passageway is where the sun rays illuminate the pathway for 30 minutes.
To the right of the Siq as you enter is the Diwan, a kind of dining area where ritual banqueting would likely have taken place. The open front of the Diwan seems to be a place for public observers that leads into a central area. Here a channel is cut by flowing water that runs into a natural basin and from there into a rock-cut cistern. The water is considered holy and is used for religious purposes. This is a cultural site in Al-Hijr archaeological region since 2008.
7. AlUla Fresh Farm – an outstanding escape to a farmland
The AlUla Farm experience gets you back to nature. The agriculture of AlUla makes you indulge in farm activities from picking fruits, planting seeds and enjoying the beauty of more than 200,000 trees on the farm. The locals welcome you to an elevated level of hospitality where you can learn more about fruits and plants on an exquisite farm tour.
Taste the juicy flavours of AlUla fruits, drink Arabic coffee and bite into delicious Arabic dates. The desert oasis is where the essence of farming in the Saudi desert makes the attraction a factual wonder. Weary traders and pilgrims have taken refuge in the oasis that made the historic trade route possible. It provided sustenance and shelter for thousands of years. The fertile soils, date palms, variety of crops and more have provided nourishment in the middle of the desert.