September 25, 2023

Al-Ula Through the Eyes of a Passionate Visitor

Al-Ula Through the Eyes of a Passionate Visitor

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One of the Seven Wonders of the World

It is no coincidence that Al-Ula, in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, is classified among UNESCO’s seven wonders of the world, nor that, in 2022, its Old Town was named one of the most beautiful tourist villages by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Two international rankings are enough to arouse interest and inspire anyone who appreciates culture and seeks natural and urban beauty to embark on an exploratory journey to such a distinguished destination. I was fortunate to visit on two work trips with the Al Arabiya channel crew. The first was at the end of 2020 and the second was at the beginning of 2023. 

Your eyes fall in love the moment you arrive. The mountains embrace you and are swathed in golden sands, with rocky outcrops the like of which I’ve never seen before. Everywhere you look, you are enchanted by imagination and metaphor. Every rocky landmark speaks and introduces itself: I am a woman, I am a water glass and I am the famous elephant mountain formed by geological factors to look like a large mammoth, with its trunk stretching down to the sand while it towers towards the sky.

Your eyes fall in love the moment you arrive. The mountains embrace you and are swathed in golden sands, with rocky outcrops the like of which I’ve never seen before.

A surreal sight: mountains rising to golden sands, capped with sun during daylight hours, and shivering with cold breezes at night. And in the darkness, a picture is painted in which you feel like you’re stars in a vast land. You can’t taste the beauty of this place except on desert treks where Earth and sky are one.

The unexpected thing about Al-Ula is that the land is 70% agricultural. Most of its people are farmers who work to turn the desert into a paradise on Earth, so that you see sand covered by more than 2 million palm trees producing Berni dates. These overlap with citrus trees whose fruits are a sight for the sore eyes of a hungry wayfarer.

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