AlUla, an enchanting place in Saudi Arabia, is slowly and steadily becoming a hotspot for tourists. But if we trace back a little, one can find a largely unexplored human history of over 2 lakh years in this bewitching city of AlUla. Curly Tales Founder & Editor In Chief, Kamiya Jani is on her journey to cover the beautiful country of Saudi Arabia, and today she is exploring Hegra in AlUla with a very special guest. We delved into the fascinating history of AlUla, accompanied by Laura Alho, also known as Blue Abaya, the pioneer of travel blogging in Saudi Arabia. Laura Alho currently holds a position within the marketing department of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU). From exploring the first UNESCO Site of Saudi Arabia to visiting the 400-year-old mud house, here’s how the journey unfolded.
But First, “Somewhere” In AlUla
Saudi Arabia is a mysterious land with fascinating people, history, and civilization. AlUla, an excellent example, is located in the northwest. Heading to Hegra, also known as the other Petra, is like going back in time to discover the cultural and archaeological wonders of the Nabataean civilization.
Laura Alho, a.k.a. The Blue Abaya, was in charge of showing around Hegra and more. This journey started with Laura talking about the history of the region and certain facts that left us amazed. After this quick conversation, we headed to Somewhere! Somewhere, a famous Saudi restaurant welcomed us with the beautiful aroma of Arabic spices and a millennial-yet-chic ambience. After relishing some Instagram-worthy food, Laura unveiled the plan to visit Hegra to explore the cultural diversity of this city.
A Car Ride To Saudi Arabia’s First UNESCO Site, Hegra
Matching the beautiful colour of her dress, Kamiya Jani was surprised by a gorgeous car that took them to Hegra. Laura informed us about how Hegra was given the title of Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Now, there are a total of six such sites in the kingdom. The exploration of Hegra started at one of the most iconic spots called the Lonely Palace. Laura was quick to explain how we can easily see a resemblance between Petra and Hegra’s construction styles. The reason is the same Nabatean civilisation that built both structures.
“Travelling Since 2008 In Saudi Arabia Has Been A Different Experience”
According to Laura, she has seen it all transform over the years in this kingdom. From women being able to drive to voting now, Laura has witnessed different sides of this kingdom before it was so modernised. When she started her journey to explore Saudi Arabia in 2008, her initial plan was to stay for a year or two. But now that we can see how the tables turned and cut straight to 2023, Laura is still enjoying her life in this country. Initially, she struggled to travel and grow as a traveller blogger in this country. But, as time passed, it became more comfortable for females to flourish in different aspects.
Jebel Ithlib, The Sacred Palace Of The Nabataean civilization
Jebel Ithlib was considered to be a holy place for this 2000-year-old civilization. Laura told us about the civilisation performing religious rituals and community gatherings inside this magnificent structure. The place of gatherings was called a Diwan, and VIPs and people of higher order would visit for meetings and important discussions.
Exploring The Vibrant AlJadidah Arts District, AlUla
This is the hub or “new town” where people moved from the 40-year-old mud houses. AlJadidah Arts District is considered to be quite vibrant. This pretty town is lit up in the evenings, with live performances taking place on the streets, small cafes around the corners, and more. But moving to a city has not made many changes to the lifestyle of people, as you could still observe many housing structures still made up of mud but with a little modernised touch.
Calling It A Night At Circolo Restaurant
Apart from tasting the best local food, Kamiya and Laura made their last stop of the day at Circolo Restaurant to relish some international cuisine. Here’s how Kamiya concluded her trip to the delightful city of Hegra in Alula, Saudi Arabia.
When do you plan to visit Hegra, AlUla? Let us know in the comments section below.
Cover Image Courtesy: Internal
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