RIYADH: The Winter at Tantora festival, which took place last year, is returning on Dec. 19 after the conclusion of Riyadh Season.
The festival will be part of AlUla Season, one of 11 Saudi seasons taking place across the Kingdom in 2019.
Last year’s 10-week festival attracted 37,000 visitors from around the world. They attended concerts by artists such as Italian superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli, Lebanese pop icon Majida El-Roumi and world-renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
Winter at Tantora was so popular that concert tickets often sold out within minutes of release, prompting officials to extend the festival for two weeks last year.
This year’s program will be extended for an additional two weeks, and is expected to attract 40,000 visitors.
Of last year’s performers, Bocelli and Yanni have been slated to return. Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart and Enrique Iglesias will also be performing.
Updates are being continually posted on the official website experiencealula.com and organizers’ official social media accounts.
In addition to concerts, several other events will be taking place, including cooking under the stars with chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants, the Fursan horse race and the AlUla balloon festival.
There will also be tours of Madain Saleh, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, and landmarks such as AlUla’s famous Elephant Rock.
Described as the Kingdom’s archaeological jewel, AlUla has been a meeting point of many civilizations.
Its proud residents will welcome visitors to discover the depth of their culture. Winter at Tantora is a celebration of life, culture, heritage and beauty.
The vertical sandstone cliffs surrounding AlUla provide ample surfaces for rock art, making it one of the richer petroglyph regions in the Kingdom.
Mount Ikma is located in the southern part of AlUla, with a large petroglyph panel displaying hundreds of images, including depictions of hunting scenes with humans and various animals.
Its key features are well-preserved remains dating back to the Late Antiquity period, and 131 rock-cut tombs that are linked to the Nabataean kingdom.
Other attractions include Al-Khoraiba site, part of the ruins of the ancient city of Dadan, which was the Dadanian kingdom’s metropolis.
It includes archaeological sites, sculptured rocks, and inscriptions that document economic, political, religious and social activities.
Harrat Uwayrid is a 400-stone gate — thought to be used for trapping animals — with graves scattered across the lava fields.
Another attraction is a gigantic natural sandstone rock resembling an elephant with its trunk touching the ground.
Archaeological remains dating back more than 2,000 years, and an abundance of natural attractions, make AlUla one of the world’s greatest undiscovered wonders. Winter at Tantora is inspired by the longstanding and inspiring traditions of AlUla. This year’s festival will follow four main themes: The re-embodiment of heritage, an oasis of culture, adventure and discovery, and a quiet haven. Tickets will be made available on experiencealula.com.