RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday launched a new design vision for AlUla to turn it into a leading global destination for arts, heritage, culture and nature.
The project, entitled “A Journey Through Time,” is a major milestone and aims to “responsibly and sustainably” restore and rehabilitate the main archaeological area in AlUla that has a unique cultural and natural environment in the northwest of the Kingdom, as part of the goals of the Vision 2030.
The project is being led by the crown prince, who is also chairman of the board of directors of the Royal Commission for AlUla Governorate, and followed up by the Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, also governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla.
“Today, we embark on a journey to preserve the world’s largest cultural oasis and advance our understanding of 200,000 years of heritage,” the crown prince said. “The Journey Through Time master plan is a leap forward to sustainably and responsibly develop AlUla, and share our cultural legacy with the world.”
It consists of three main stages, and the first stages are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023 and is part of a comprehensive development program for AlUla supervised by the royal commission.
It will also include establishing five centers that extend along 20 kilometers from the heart of AlUla and in inspiring and essential stops along the “Journey Through Time” route inspired by the nature and heritage of the old historic city. The centers start from the old town center to the south, through the Dadan and Jabal Ikma Nabataean oasis trails, and the ancient city of Hajjar in the north.
Each of these centers will be a cultural landmark in its own right, and reflect the nature and terrain unique to this geographical region, with cultural centers and facilities to provide a unique experience for visitors to explore the ancient history of the region.
The development strategy, upon completion in 2035, aims to provide 38,000 new job opportunities, in addition to contributing SR120 billion ($32 billion) to the Kingdom’s GDP.
The program will provide a distinctive historical map of the civilizations that settled in the various oases of AlUla over more than 7,000 years of human history, a Saudi Press Agency statement said.
The plan involves investing in the heritage, cultural, natural and geological richness of the region, through community participation in the development process, to preserve AlUla’s legacy, and open new possibilities “to discover its undiscovered history and build a future to be proud of.”