Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world
Few have been privileged to visit the ancient city of Hegra, hewn from the rocks of the Hijaz in northwestern Saudi Arabia two millennia ago and lost for centuries in the mists of time.
Now, as the new Saudi Arabia increasingly opens its doors to the outside world, the Kingdom is poised to share with that world one of the great forgotten treasures of antiquity.
Like its famous northern twin, Petra, Hegra was created by the Nabataeans, a mysterious people whose Arabian empire of trade flared briefly but brightly more than 2,000 years ago.
The unveiling of the spectacular rock-cut tombs of the ancient city, after more than a decade of one of the most intensive archaeological investigations ever undertaken, is part of an initiative to transform the dramatic landscape and heritage of the wider AlUla region into one of the world’s greatest cultural tourism destinations.
In 2020, the archaeological sites of Hegra will be reopened to the public, which got its first glimpse in many years through last year’s first Winter at Tantora festival, a spectacular celebration of art, music and heritage that will draw the world once again to AlUla from Dec. 19 to March 7.
The opening up of Hegra and the AlUla Valley, in antiquity a vital artery of trade and a cultural melting pot, restores a missing chapter in the history of the region and the entire world, bringing full circle a tale that, until now, has been only half told.