Under the banner of AlUla Moments, AlUla’s events calendar published today highlights four festivals including Winter at Tantora which is back by popular demand and celebrates heritage, AlUla Skies, AlUla Arts and AlUla’s Wellness Festival. The festivals will offer curated experiences of art, culture, music, nature, wellness, equestrian, gastronomy and astronomy. The events will include free and ticketed experiences, with tickets and information available at experiencealula.com.
The four distinct festivals will commence on 21 December and run through to 30 March against the backdrop of AlUla’s many timeless wonders. Musical performances will also be back in AlUla with Maraya taking centre stage again as the venue for regional and international acts starting from this October.
Winter at Tantora, the very first music and arts festival in the Kingdom returns – now in a six-week format. A stunning Candlelit Symphonic Concert at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra will set the tone for the festival season as the opening event. Equestrian events will include the eagerly awaited new haute couture horse fashion event, Ikmah Fashion Calvary, the return of the competitive Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Race and the oh-so-chic AlUla Desert Polo. A new Citrus Festival will celebrate AlUla produce and the Harrat Observation Deck with Back to Black restaurant will offer stunning sunrise and sunset views of AlUla from the top of the Harrat Uwayrid. Archaeology and cultural workshops will be introduced at the heritage sites, there will be live immersion shows at AlUla Old Town and in the oasis. Winter at Tantora will run from 21 December to 12 February.
From February 2021, the AlUla Arts festival will bring together exhibitions and encounters created by a diverse array of artistic talents, in celebration of AlUla’s legacy as a cultural crossroads. Championing the ‘art of our time’, an exhibition representing the cutting edge of contemporary art by some of the leading artists in the Kingdom will be hosted at the award-winning Maraya. Al Jedidiah will be a vibrant hub of art activity and performances, with the outdoor Cinema El Housh presenting arthouse Saudi filmmakers and curated art experiences populating the Oasis, and other landscapes within AlUla. The AlUla Arts festival can be experienced from February 13, with headline exhibitions running to the end of March.
It’s no secret that the fascinating geological landscapes of AlUla, from the volcanic plains to the ancient heritage sites, are best seen from the air – introducing AlUla Skies. Whether it’s floating serenely over Hegra in a hot air balloon, zooming the length of the oasis in a vintage plane or taking a helicopter over the rock formations of Madakheel, the sky will be alive with action. The new sight and sound experience, Constellations, is a high-tech take on AlUla’s popular star-gazing tour, and Symphony under the Stars will be a spine-tingling musical performance set under a million twinkling stars. It is all bookable from 27 February to 12 March.
Leaning into AlUla’s history as a place for respite and relaxation, AlUla’s cultural oasis will become a focal point for wellness from this December. A stunning new Garden of Moments experience will use the elements of the environment interacting with space, light and sound in thought-provoking installations. And as part of the new AlUla Wellness Festival in March 2022, a Five Senses Sanctuary will offer a full range of mind, body and soul experiences from expert yoga, meditation and mindfulness practitioners. For something more energetic, the Eco-Trail returns to AlUla and AlUla Oasis Fitness Infusion will offer daily doses of endorphins in the form of expert-led group classes. AlUla Wellness Festival will run from 17 March to 27 March.
Also coming back this year will be the popular sunken seating and fire pits around Elephant Rock. New adventure experiences such as mountain biking, the Via Ferrata suspension bridge, extended zipline and some challenging new hikes and canyon experiences at Madakheel.
Dining options will be extended across AlUla from new heritage site restaurants, the return of Annabel’s and the Michelin starred chef restaurant, Maraya Social, on the rooftop of Maraya.
AlUla’s calendar takes inspiration from an ancient destination where social gatherings and cultural exchanges were part of everyday life.