7 Beautiful Places In AlUla That Are A Sight For The Sore Eyes

by Anupriya Mishra
7 Beautiful Places In AlUla That Are A Sight For The Sore Eyes

AlUla is an ancient Arabic oasis city that sits in the province of northwestern Saudi Arabia. Regarded as a living museum by awestruck tourists, this beautiful city transcends the wall between nature and the cosmos! Kamiya Jani, our Editor-in-Chief recently went to Saudi Arabia, and during her trip, she visited some spectacular landmarks in the city that houses several ancient gems. And during her trip, she gave us some serious travel inspiration and a list of astounding places that are a sight for sore eyes.

Most Beautiful Places In AlUla

1. Maraya

Pic credits: Internal

Maraya Concert Hall is one of the most renowned sites in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla. Did you know it’s the largest mirrored structure in the world? Yes, and the carefully placed mirrored panels, reflect the dazzling desert! Moreover, these panels make the building disappear from view when seen from a certain angle!

As it draws a number of tourists from around the world, this magnificent concert hall has seen renowned global sensations like Enrique Iglesias, Russell Peters, and Alicia Keys, perform here. An example of excellent craftsmanship, here are a few things you need to know about this gorgeous building:

  • The state-of-the-art structure is made with 9,740 mirror panels.
  • In Arabic, Maraya translates to ‘mirror’ or ‘reflection’.
  • There is an open-air terrace where you can dine under the blanket of twinkling stars for a meal with a view.
  • As this is a concert hall, it can seat 500 people at a time easily.

Where: Al Atheeb 43552, Saudi Arabia

2. Hegra

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Hegra is another spectacular ancient landmark that’s sitting in the dramatic desert of AlUla. It’s located in the desert canyon and was once the place where the old civilisations thrived. Did you know that this was also the first site in Saudi Arabia to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site?

Yes, this designation was awarded to the ancient site in the year 2008. It is believed that the civilisation here dates back to 2,00,00 years and Hegra is known as Al-Hijr to Muslims. Not to mention, there are some interesting things to know about this ancient site. Like,

  • This is the largest conserved site of a civilisation of the Nabataeans South of Jordan. As a result, it is also known as the ‘Other Petra’.
  • Featuring well-preserved monumental tombs, these date back to the period between 1 CE BC and 1 CE AD.
  • There are about 50 inscriptions here that are said to be from the Nabataean Period and there are also some exquisite cave drawings.
  • This site is an exceptional example of Nabataeans’ architectural accomplishment.

3. Elephant Rock

Elephant rock
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Another absolutely popular place that’s worth visiting in AlUla is the gigantic Elephant Rock. Although not all rock formations have a specific historical narrative, a few like the Elephant Rock or Jabal Al-fil relay the story of the geological processes. Yes, shaped over a million years, this phenomenon has occurred due to erosion, weathering, and sedimentation.

It stands at a height of a magnificent 52 m in the sky and the name of the rock is earned due to its peculiar shape that makes it resemble a standing elephant. Like every other magnificent spot in AlUla, this geological marvel also warrants your attention for a variety of reasons, like,

  • The rock has a distinctive trunk and a body making it resemble an elephant.
  • Once the sun goes down, this elephant turns into a beautiful shade of red.
  • As there are some seating arrangements near the rock, people can sit and enjoy the wondrous site.
  • A lot of food places that are located in the vicinity open when the temperature cools down a bit during the day, making it a great place to eat.

4. Rainbow Rock

Rainbow Rock
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Rainbow Rock earns its name due to the visible arc that it forms. Located at about a 90-minute drive from the city centre, this arching structure resembles a rainbow, which has been flanked by two clouds. This natural wonder is not just mesmerising, but a rare sight as well.

Not to mention, the striking appearance of the rock also makes it a great photo op for dazzling pictures. As this place is ideal for camping and stargazing, people can also go on an expedition to find semi-precious desert diamonds, as they can be found here embedded in rocks.

5. Giant Swing At Adventure Hub

Giant swing
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Not just natural wonders, AlUla also makes for a great destination for adventure-seeking souls. After all, the Giant Swing in AlUla is located at a height of a whopping 85 m above the ground. Offering a sweeping view of the dazzling desert scape, you will want to capture beautiful pictures from this fantastic viewpoint.

However, it takes approximately 30 minutes to climb up to the highest point from the rock from where visitors can take the exhilarating swing of their lifetimes. Yes, as the visitors leap from the mountain edge, they go swinging through the high canyon walls and the bewitching view. And of course, they’ve been secured by a harness to keep them safe the entire time!

Where: MVF8+WW, AlUla 43565, Saudi Arabia
Cost: SAR150

6. Dadan & Ikmah

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Another beautiful place in AlUla is that of Dadan & Ikmah. For those who aren’t aware, Dadan was once the capital of Dadanite and Lihyanite kingdoms. As a result, it served as a major centre for trade and commerce. Touted to be more than 2,000 years old, from far, all you see are simple dark rectangles cut into the red-rocked cliffs. But as you go closer, it’s quite evident that these are actually square-shaped tombs at a height of 50 m above the ground.

It’s honestly a spectacular site and it leaves a person thinking as to how these tombs were carved so high without the use of modern construction pieces of equipment. These tombs have been skilfully carved and they also include seated lion sculptures, which mark the famous lion tombs. As it happens, there are also some inscriptions here, which are said to feature terms relating to agriculture.

7. Old Town

Old Town AlUla
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The Old Town of AlUla is like walking through the lanes of the bygone era. A time capsule that gives visitors a glimpse of the thriving civilisation where people in the past once walked down the same streets. As such, there are shops here that sell pretty souvenirs that are certainly going to make you want to whip out your wallets.

Lined up with several restaurants, serving authentic Saudi cuisine, this buzzing area is a great place to get a glimpse of old AlUla. However, there are several amazing highlights of this place that you need to know before you decide to go there for a stroll. Like,

  • A 45 m high fort overlooks this town and it’s expected to date back to the 10th century.
  • An essential settlement during the 12th century, it was once an important route for pilgrims from Damascus to Mecca.
  • The houses here have been designed in such a way that they attach to one another, thereby providing some much-needed fortification.
  • At one point in time, the city was accessible by 14 gates, which were opened in the morning and closed each evening!

So, with so many fantastic landmarks worth checking out in AlUla, don’t forget to take a much-needed holiday in this beautiful Saudi destination and we are sure you are going to come back with loads of fond memories, picture-perfect memories and yearning to visit again.

Cover Image Courtesy: Internal