AlUla Old Town is now open to visitors
Ready to visit the home of ancient Kingdoms?
AlUla Old Town, one of four significant heritage sites in AlUla, is now officially open as a year-round tourism precinct.
Begin your trip to AlUla Old Town by strolling along the Incense Road, lined with fruit and produce market stalls, as well as arts and crafts, fashion and souvenirs stores. Whilst you’re there, dine in at one of the open-air eateries, including AlUla’s newest fine dining restaurant Suhail, offering traditional Saudi cuisine with a modern twist, or opt for a more casual One O’ One Burger.
You can also look forward to visiting the bustling souq and the handicraft pavilion for live demonstrations of ancient arts and craft in the coming weeks.
Book a self-guided tour to explore the town at your leisure and pace. For a more immersive experience, opt for a tour with a Rawi, one of AlUla’s skilled storytellers.
The tour will guide you through the restored streets, including visits to the Tantora Plaza and Sundial, the two restored mosques of AlZawiyah and Hamad bin Yunis, as well as the recent conservation area that encompasses homes in the southern end of town.
As your tour comes to an end, climb up the steps to the AlUla Castle and enjoy the panoramic views of the Old Town.
The living museum
AlUla Old Town is estimated to have been established in the 12th century and was inhabited from then until the 1980s, when the last residents left for more modern housing.
For the next nearly 40 years, the site was open for former residents and others to visit. However, environmental damage took its toll over the years, and it was becoming seriously dilapidated.
The site was then closed to visitors in 2017 by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) and put in place plans to protect and restore it for the enjoyment of the local community and visitors for future generations.
Phillip Jones, chief destination management and marketing officer of RCU, is delighted to welcome visitors to this significant and fascinating site after a three-year hiatus.
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“AlUla Old Town is an important chapter in AlUla’s journey through time. The site is key to the understanding, continuity, and evolution of the historic routes for trade and pilgrimage that made AlUla such a significant destination until the 20th century as it is for visitors again today,” said Phillip.
A return to traditional conservation methods
Cultural heritage conservation manager Michael Jones commented, “The team has been working on conserving the southern and eastern areas of AlUla Old Town. We are applying conservation best practice, experimenting with different mud brick and plasters and creating guidelines for best practice in the conservation of earthen architecture in AlUla.”
He added, “The guidelines are in the final stages of preparation. There is more yet to be done on the houses’ interiors along the street near the mosques and the rest of Old Town.”
AlUla Old Town is open now and is free for visitors to access the market stalls and Suhail restaurant. Tours on the restored pathways can be booked online at experiencealula.com
Images: Supplied / Instagram