Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth

Dooma’s immersive experiences provide visitors with a hands-on approach to learning about the mud houses and building techniques of AlUla. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)
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Dooma’s immersive experiences provide visitors with a hands-on approach to learning about the mud houses and building techniques of AlUla. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Mud bricks made by visitors during the heritage restoration experience by Dooma Daimumah in AlUla. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Dooma’s immersive experiences provide visitors with a hands-on approach to learning about the mud houses and building techniques of AlUla. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Yahya Allawati, the Co-Founder of Dooma while explaining about the traditional raw mud materials used for the heritage resturation experience. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Reviving Nature Experience. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Dooma’s immersive experiences provide visitors with a hands-on approach to learning about the mud houses and building techniques of AlUla. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Reviving Nature Experience. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Reviving Nature Experience. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Reviving Nature Experience. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Reviving Nature Experience. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Reviving Nature Experience. (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)
Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
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Updated 07 November 2023
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Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth

Dooma in AlUla — crafting a connection to the Earth
  • Heritage-driven sustainability activities tap into ancient wisdom

ALULA: In the heart of AlUla’s Oasis, Daimumah — a name derived from the Arabic word for sustainability — is the site of an attraction for visitors looking for an experience that combines local heritage, art and nature.

Dooma, a subsidiary of Noma Hub that crafts “inclusive sustainability experiences,” offers the chance to participate in restoration work in the belief that “the best kind of travel is travel with a purpose.”




Dooma’s immersive experiences provide visitors with a hands-on approach to learning about the mud houses and building techniques of AlUla. (AN photos by Nada Hameed)

The word “dooma” is derived from the Nabatean language and refers to anyone who works with mud. Yahya Allawati, the cofounder of Dooma, said during a recent visit to AlUla that the mission was deeply tied to preserving the region’s deep-rooted and rich heritage.

Dooma’s immersive experiences provide visitors with a hands-on approach to learning about the mud houses and building techniques of AlUla, focusing on the raw materials, their origins, and fermentation processing techniques.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Dooma offers tourists, visitors the chance to participate in restoration and sustainability activities.

• The experiences, available until the end of November, combine AlUla’s local heritage, art and nature.

Visitors not only learn about these processes but also actively participate in making mud bricks and renovating heritage sites. On arrival, visitors are given aprons and straw hats to prepapre for a mud-full experience.

Allawati stressed the dual benefit of this heritage restoration: “The restoration not only allows preserving the stories and values of the diverse societies that once thrived in AlUla, but it also allows us to tap into their timeless wisdom and intellect that led to their prosperity.”




Yahya Allawati, Dooma cofounder

One of the core attractions at Dooma is the opportunity to explore the ancient mud house building process, including making mud bricks, which differs significantly from the modern approach of using cement and blocks.

The mud used in this experience is made from pure AlUla oasis mud, mixed with water and straw by participants, offering an authentic connection to heritage. The process involves mud-mixing, texture assessment, brick-making using a wooden mold, then drying the fresh bricks in sunlight for two weeks.

Heritage is more than tangible materials that we can see or touch — it represents the ideas and sentiments that a people embodied.

Yahya Allawati, Dooma cofounder

“The mud used for heritage sites requires a minimum of 14 days of fermentation,” Allawati said. “In the visitor’s experience, the mud is not fermented to allow for hands-on mixing and a tangible connection to the Earth’s materials, making it unsuitable for heritage sites.”

The experiences at Dooma extend beyond the physical processes of heritage restoration; they delve into the core cultural values of communities that lived in simplicity and security, highlighting the worth of social amity and the willingness to help and be helped.

As Allawati aptly put it: “Heritage is more than tangible materials that we can see or touch — it represents the ideas and sentiments that a people embodied.”




‘Reviving Nature’ tackles palm frond waste by contributing repurposed frond petals to the dome sculpture called ‘Tanafaas.’ (Supplied)

As the immersive mud experience comes to a close, visitors are invited to take part in the ultimate indulgence — a soothing mud bath pool where they can play and relax.

‘Reviving Nature’

Another experience offered by Dooma is “Reviving Nature,” an innovative project that invites visitors to tackle palm frond waste by contributing repurposed frond petals to the dome sculpture called “Tanafaas,” meaning “breathing” in Arabic. It is a living artwork that allows air and light to pass through its petals, creating a stunning visual and sensory experience.

Visitors are invited to participate in weaving sessions with local experts, learning how to work with palm fronds to create boards that will form the sustainable dome placed within Daimumah. The dome’s exterior has 700 petals, expertly shaped to resemble the elegant trunks of palm trees.




‘Reviving Nature’ tackles palm frond waste by contributing repurposed frond petals to the dome sculpture called ‘Tanafaas.’ (AN Photo by Nada Hameed)

Made using recycled palm fronds, each panel is adorned with personal stories written by participants. The exterior of the half-dome structure is crafted using locally sourced palm fronds from AlUla’s palm trees. Inside, the seating is made of wood, while the natural dirt floor adds a grounding element, allowing visitors to connect with the earth beneath their feet and feel a sense of belonging.

Najla Bokhari, one of the participants, said: “The experience helped me to explore more about the significance of how sustainability promotes environmental awareness and fosters a connection to nature.”

Allawati added: “Tanafaas is a testament to sustainability and the power of green buildings. It conveys a profound message about the importance of environmental consciousness and the creative use of recycled materials sourced locally.”

Both Dooma experiences are available to visitors until the end of November.

 


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Updated 22 February 2024
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KSrelief, UN officials meet to discuss aid cooperation

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RIYADH: Officials from Saudi Arabia’s aid agency and the UN met in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss ways to improve aid delivery across the world.

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Updated 22 February 2024
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KSrelief distributes 950 food parcels to displaced people in Khartoum

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Ahmed Al-Baiz, KSrelief’s assistant supervisor-general of operations and programs, and Kamal Yaqoub Mohamed, director-general of the fund, signed the agreement in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

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They discussed the relationship between their countries and ways in which it might be enhanced in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported. They also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, particularly those relating to Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Saudi ambassador to Brazil, Faisal Ghulam, and the assistant director general of the foreign minister’s office, Walid Al-Smail, were also present at the meeting.


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RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met on Wednesday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

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