Vision of AlUla for preservation of Saudi Arabia’s heritage great - GulfToday

Vision of AlUla for preservation of Saudi Arabia’s heritage great

Saudi Vision 2030 further empowers the local community and preserves the heritage.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Mesmerising humongous vanilla to paper brown to curry to copper to chai and to caramel sandstones that converse with, bellow, yell at or ignore one another; by their lonesome and all exhibiting multi-faceted behaviours among concrete and centuries-old ruins of mud-brick dwellings, undulating and placid plains, refreshing agriculture, and peeping ebony volcanic rocks-made more dumbfounding with an over 40-minute late morning chopper ride – God is indeed the master planner/designer/artist.

Historical and indicative of the genesis; of Ibrahim’s or Abraham’s fatherhood to half-brothers Ishmael and Isaac, each blessed with their respective 13 and 12 tribal descendants to the birth and death of progressive and prosperous polytheistic kingdoms; this is northwest Saudi Arabia, home to a valley and three oases from millions of eons back-AlUla, Tayma and Khaybar – once connected and would forever be connected again – with so much to offer to the world and mankind.

“As part of the Saudi Vision 2030 goals to develop and diversify the economy, empowering the local community and preserve the heritage, the vision of AlUla has been developed following the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud of the Board of Directors of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) who had stated, ‘We will turn AlUla County into a living museum, creating memories that visitors will share with the world.

Heritage is the main asset of AlUla. We have to use this asset to offer visitors a unique journey through time where they can enjoy a living museum,’” RCU Chief Destination Management and Marketing officer Phillip Jones told Gulf Today.

At the popular tourist destination of the Elephant Rock, where he used to entertain by the bonfire and “simple catering,” ambassadors and other diplomats –early 21st century  – engrossed with the historical wealth of the region, Ahmed Alimam said: “These three oases have three similar things. These were part of the Incense Road. Three oases that had grown and become famous because of the (Bir Hadaj) well (in Tayma) that saved many (people and sojourners), rich (farmlands) which made these in the past really something important for all civilisations. So important that the Romans wanted to take it from the Nabateans (whose initial capital of its kingdom was Petra, Jordan before they moved to Hegra (which has become a United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organisation Heritage Site because of its over 130 discovered completed and unfinished solo and clan tombs spread throughout numerous sandstone jabals).”

The first official Saudi Commission for Tourism and Heritage licensed tour guide whose 13th generation grandfather arrived in the northwest as a tribal judge six centuries ago and a 136-year-old rock inscription by his great grandfather was recently discovered in the county, went on to narrate: “The Nabateans wanted to take (these oases) from the Dadanites who built a kingdom from zero. There was Nabodines (the last Babylonian king who lived in Tayma which he called his own Babylon).

“The Jewish tribes; all these civilisations were trying to put their hands on these three oases. These three have always been coming as a group together. If you want to pass by the north to the south and the opposite, these oases have always been the way. Otherwise, you would get lost in the desert or die of thirst without water. So yes, how we are trying to present the three oases together for the reason that these were together in the past.”

Alimam acknowledged and specifically stated that the early inhabitants of the region were “many times” mentioned in the Holy Bible, particularly in the (Books of) Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel: “Tayma and Dadan (the name of Saudi Arabia in the Holy Bible) are in the Old Testament.”

He who developed his attraction to history and archaeology because of a lime tree in their yard that served as the storytelling-reminiscing spot for all the older family members – from an elderly aunt who vividly remembered World War I and the Ottoman Empire to his mother, sister and the rest of the clan – added with a tinge of pride: “Oh, the Dadanite Kingdom was different. It was unique. It was here. It was and is ours. We did not share it with anyone unlike the Nabatean Kingdom. Tayma (had a glimpse of Babylon which is Iraq because of Nabonides). The Dadanite Kingdom reached as far as Aqaba to the Gulf.”

Currently are 30 permanent and 40 freelancing tour guides with Alimam. They all underwent orientations and workshops in Sedona, Arizona, USA “because of similarities in topography and community interests, France and at Louvre-Abu Dhabi. It is a KPI for them to know English or French.”

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