Thursday, January 31, 2019

SkyWatch - Al Ula, Saudi Arabia

This past week I have featured posts from my magical weekend trip to Al Ula where I attended the unforgettable first ever Winter at Tantora Festival.  The festival has attracted performers and visitors from the world over and has kicked off Saudi Arabia's offical entry into the world of tourism with a bang.  From the world class concerts to the mystical terrain, to the historical significance of the area, to the warmth of the local people, Al Ula is one of the world's few relatively obscure gems.

Incredible sandstone rock formations are the geographical features that dominate this area of northwestern Saudi Arabia and inspired the ancient Nabataean civilzation to turn many of the huge rocks into carved tombs.  My friend Laura of the amazing blog Blue Abaya has written a fabulous comprehensive guide and history of Madain Saleh with lots of fantastic photos - CLICK HERE to access it.

The natural beauty of the area is stunningly breathtaking.  As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this area is primed to become one of the most popular tourist detinations in Saudi Arabia, after the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, which attract millions of religious tourists every year.

Madein Saleh has been closed to the public in preparation for tourism, but it was opened temporarily for the visitors of the Winter at Tantora Festival, which is running for ten weekends through Feb, 23.  This historical site of Nabataean tombs will then be closed again until sometime next year.

This last photo is of Rainbow Rock and my friend and fellow blogger Laura who writes the blog Blue Abaya.  She has explored more places in Saudi Arabia than anyone else I know.  Her videos and photos of this kingdom are truly spectacular.  You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @BlueAbaya

To  visit MORE friendly skies around the world, fly on over to SKYWATCH  where you’ll find beautiful skies posted by bloggers all over the world.


Jackie Smith said...

Sadly as a US citizen, who doesn't fit the current acceptable reasons (business, family or religion) to visit Saudi Arabia we will likely never see these beautiful sites in person. Thanks for giving us a taste of what we are missing.

William Kendall said...

Rainbow Rock particularly catches my eye.

Susie of Arabia said...

But Jackie - Yes You Can! Saudi Arabia is now allowing tourism for all. The Winter at Tantora Festival is one of the first events of its kind within the country to try to attract tourist from all over the world. Someone I met at the festival told me it took her five minutes online to get her visa to come to Saudi Arabia for the festival. Check my recent posts from the past couple of weeks. I've been advertising this fact - Saudi Arabia is now open for tourism.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Now that's an arch!!!! Stunning rock formations.

Gaelyn said...

This is fabulous!