With more than 200,000 years of undiscovered human history, Al Ula is a place of remarkable natural and human legacy. The Nabatean city of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, the tombs of Dadan, the stone-built capital of the Dadanite and Lihyanite Kingdoms, and the ancient ruins of Al Ula Old Town, are just a few of the historical treasures that can be found deep in the picturesque deserts, northwest of the Kingdom. Moreover, Al Ula was a prominent pitstop for pilgrims in the 12th century.
Al Ula belongs to the emirate of Al Madinah Al Munawwarah Region, and it is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Al Ula is located between two large mountains, from which “Dadan”, “Qurah” and “Wadi Al-Qura” spring. Nowadays, Al Ula is known as “The Capital of History and Antiquities” as it is in fact a giant open museum, a window to the past and history of the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore its ancient cities have been fully classified within the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
Al Ula is considered a cultural treasure due to its many natural features and amazing archaeological cities, the most famous and largest of which is Madain Saleh, or “Al Hijr” spread over an area of 13 square kilometers, with lots of yet to be discovered secrets.
There are an enormous number of monuments of the Nabataean civilization, such as the Al-Farid Palace, which was named so because of the uniqueness of the design of its facade and because it is carved in a single rock separate from others, and the Palace of the Girl with distinctive drawings and inscriptions and a design like the designs of ancient Greek buildings, and the Al Sanea Palace, which is the first place to welcome the visitors of Madain Saleh. The entrance façade is decorated with poles, drawings, and statues of mythical beings, and the tombs of Al Khuraimat scattered over nine mountains.
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Madain Saleh is not the only archaeological site at Al Ula, as there is also Mount Ikma, whose ruins attest to the history and civilization of the ancient kingdom of Dadan, also known as Lihyan, dating back to more than two thousand years. It sheds light over that civilization that flourished at the beginning of the sixth century to second century BC.
Because of the quality of its tourist attractions, most activities are group tours to explore and see archaeological sites and cities, wild trips through mountains and valleys, camping in nature and watching the clear night sky, passing by the houses of the old town next to the city of Al Ula, and practicing desert sports and adventures over the dunes.
In addition to all this, festivals and annual celebrations are held in Al Ula all year long. The most famous festival is the Winter at Tantora Festival, whose name is inspired by the sundial that was used by the residents of the region to follow the change of seasons of the year. Its activities include concerts performed by the most famous Arab and international artists, many competitions and activities such as the hot air balloon ceremony.
It is usually preferable to visit Al Ula between December and February because of its hot and dry desert climate. In winter, the average temperature is 24 degrees Celsius, while the summer reaches 36 degrees. Also, the most amusing events and festivals take place in the winter.
Al Ula’s nowadays status as a center of modern arts and culture is equally remarkable. The destination’s signature events and festivals are held all year long. Being at Al Ula gives you many moments of excitement, discovery, and delight in a variety of areas, including the arts, culture, music, wellness, and more.