AlUla unveils new experiences, heritage sites open for bookings

There is an Experience AlUla app for an immersive digital guide, and visitors can speak to a Rawi (Arabic storyteller) for a more personal tour of the sites. (Supplied)
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Updated 30 October 2020

AlUla unveils new experiences, heritage sites open for bookings

  • From late-December, parts of AlUla Old Town will be open to the public

JEDDAH: AlUla, the historical crossroad of ancient civilizations, has officially reopened for visitors.
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has unveiled the full suite of experiences that are being introduced over the coming months.
Heritage sites, Hegra, Jabal Ikmah and Dadan are the first to reopen for bookings. The Hegra experience includes a full immersion into the Nabataean way of life at the Tomb of Lihyan son of Kuza, including Jabal Ithlib, The Diwan, Jabal Alhamar and the well.
At the ancient city of Dadan, the capital city of the Dadanite and Liyhanite kingdoms and one of the most developed cities in the first millennia BC, visitors will get the chance to become an archaeologist for the day.
Archaeologists began extensive excavations at Dadan in February to explore this relatively unknown period in AlUa’s 200,000 years of human history. From December, a family-friendly 40-minute “Archaeology for Everyone” workshop will have kids digging for artifacts to get in on the action. There will also be live immersion shows, audio tours and visitors will have the opportunity to roam the site in a vintage jeep.
From late-December, parts of AlUla Old Town will be open to the public. While full conservation is ongoing, the visitor experience will include Rawi tours of Tantora Plaza and views from AlUla citadel, experiencing a bustling souq, handicraft pavilions, souvenir shops and new dining options.
Outside of the heritage sites, there will be plenty of other activities to keep visitors entertained.
A new Adventure Canyon area will offer a suite of experiences for those looking for high-energy thrills.

HIGHLIGHT

From mid-November, visitors will be able to appreciate the landscapes, rock art, dunes and peaks of the desert while zipping around in dune buggies, or book a stargazing tour at Al-Gharameel rocks.

From mid-November, visitors will be able to appreciate the landscapes, rock art, dunes and peaks of the desert while zipping around in dune buggies, or book a stargazing tour at Al-Gharameel rocks.
Another trail available from mid-November is a leisurely two-hour cycling trip, which runs through palm groves and citrus trees. A horse riding trail through the oasis is also slated for later in the year.
Available from December, a family bike track is being constructed as well as a zipline at the new Adventure Canyon by experienced operators Warrior.
For a more relaxing experience, the AlUla Fresh Farm visit offers visitors a glimpse into the agricultural life with fruit picking, animal feeding and seed planting. From the 2.3 million date palm trees to the 29 different citrus fruits, farms play an important role in AlUla’s economy and daily life.
AlUla will also welcome new permanent experiences in the arts and cultural space. The former AlUla Secondary School for girls near the old town is being transformed into an arts and traditional crafts hub.
Restaurants have also been given careful consideration and further announcements are to be made in the coming weeks about some exciting new dining options. In the meantime, key local cafes Barzan and Al-Makher are working with the RCU to ensure a year-round offer of fabulous local cuisine.


On the go with Saudi Arabia’s first professionally trained cycling club

Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally. (Supplied)
Updated 30 November 2020

On the go with Saudi Arabia’s first professionally trained cycling club

  • Saudi Arabia’s female population is enjoying the new wave of opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle

RIYADH: As sports and other activities continue to gain popularity in Saudi Arabia, residents are seeking out exciting ways to get moving.
The Kingdom’s female population are enjoying the new wave of opportunities that have been made available to them in recent years to live a healthy lifestyle.
Hiking, outdoor yoga and football are all popular choices, but one less familiar pastime on the increase is cycling.
Events such as the annual Saudi Tour and the General Sports Authority’s highly successful all-women’s cycling race in Jeddah in 2018 have fostered a growing interest in the sport.
Studies have shown that cycling improves overall health, more specifically improving mental health, strengthening the immune system, promoting weight loss, reducing heart disease and cancer and more.
Riding a bike can be one of the easiest forms of returning to fitness when you are bouncing back from an injury or illness.

Doves Ride organizes rides for all levels, from the gentle trails suitable for beginners to the more challenging routes for hardened cyclists. The group offers lessons that can help any beginner ride a bike safely. (Supplied)

A group of bike enthusiasts from Riyadh intend to spread the word and make people more aware of the healthy advantages of cycling and the joy that can be had on the back of a bicycle.
Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally. Shahd Alturki, Doves Ride’s founder and a professional cycling trainer, spoke to Arab News about why she set up the team.

HIGHLIGHTS

• A group of bike enthusiasts from Riyadh intend to spread the word and make people more aware of the healthy advantages of cycling and the joy that can be had on the back of a bicycle.

• Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally.

• Riding a bike can be one of the easiest forms of returning to fitness when you are bouncing back from an injury or illness.

“I founded Doves Ride to create an environment for women and families where they could get into sports,” Alturki said.
Based in Riyadh, Doves Ride’s goal is to create an environment where Saudis can discover what biking is like and meet others with similar interests.
“The idea was to create a team that would motivate Saudi society to start biking, and to raise awareness in general about sport and movement. We also wanted to help teach Saudis to cycle by creating a program to teach people in all categories,” she said.
Doves Ride organizes rides for all levels, from the gentle trails suitable for beginners to the more challenging routes for hardened cyclists.
“We welcome participants at any level, whether they are looking for a long-term membership or just to try it out,” said Alturki.
She also spoke about the benefits of the sport and hopes to encourage people to try it out for themselves.
“Biking is more than just a fun sport; it raises your fitness levels and can also boost your mental health,” she said.
For the more hesitant, Alturki reassures them that she is well-equipped to train them and get them on the path to biking like a pro.
“We have bike-riding lessons for zero-experience learners, licensed by the British Cycling Federation. Children, men and women are all welcome to take them. These lessons can help any beginner ride a bike safely, and teaches them all the necessary skills and basics,” she said.
Doves Ride can be contacted via their Twitter or Instagram accounts, @dovesride.