Travel Desert ruins of Al-Ula: Saudis revive forgotten past
Best places to go for a holiday in April
The countries and cities you should be travelling to in the month of April.DON'T MISS Getting lost in the labyrinthine streets of the town of Mdina, founded by Arabs more than 1000 years ago, is a wonderful experience.
Trudging up a caramel-hued cliff pocked with ancient tombs, guide Bandar al-Anazi gazed at the stunning view: a windswept desert landscape of pre-Islamic ruins at the centre of Saudi-Franco preservation efforts.
Al-Ula, an area rich in archaeological remnants, is seen as a jewel in the crown of future Saudi attractions as the austere kingdom prepares to issue tourist visas for the first time -- opening up one of the last frontiers of global tourism.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is set to sign a landmark agreement with Paris on Tuesday for the touristic and cultural development of the northwestern site, once a crossroads of ancient civilisations.
Fall Asleep Under Millions of Stars at This Bubble Hotel in Northern Ireland
<p>The main appeal to these bubble domes <g class="gr_ gr_3 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" data-gr-id="3" id="3">are</g> their 180-degree transparent walls, which promise unhampered views of the surrounding forest, peace, and solitude.</p>In the town of Enniskillen, in Northern Ireland, Finn Lough Resort gives nature-loving glampers the opportunity to book a stay at one of their seven, luxurious Forest Domes.
"All of Al-Ula is an open air museum," Anazi said during a media tour just days before Prince Mohammed's trip, revealing a patchwork of rock-cut tombs containing niches for burials.
"There is so much history here still waiting to be discovered."
The tombs, some containing pre-Islamic inscriptions and drawings such as hunting scenes, are a legacy of the Nabataean artistic tradition.
The chiseled rock art forms could help unravel the mysteries of millennia-old civilisations on the Arabian Peninsula.
It would be the world’s largest airplane. It’s being built by a billionaire. And it’s getting ready to fly.
Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, is building an airplane that could “air launch” as many as three rockets and perhaps even a space shuttle.If it flies successfully, Stratolaunch, as the plane is called, would be the largest aircraft ever to take to the skies. At 385 feet long, its wingspan is bigger than the length of a football field and larger than Howard Hughes’s World War II-era Spruce Goose.
The area, roughly the size of Belgium, served as an important way station and bedouin watering hole on the trade route linking the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa and India.
It is home to the kingdom's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Madain Saleh, built more than 2,000 years ago by the Nabataeans.
"Every day something new is being discovered," Jamie Quartermaine, an expert from the Britain-based Oxford Archaeology group, told AFP.
"The potential is endless. Look behind you," he said, pointing at ancient animal art depictions engraved on a rocky spur inside an Al-Ula hotel resort.
- 'Gift to the world' -
A helicopter tour of the area revealed a desert landscape that appeared like the top of a foamed latte, dotted with heritage sites and towering maze-like rock formations.
The Saudi-Franco partnership is in part aimed at preserving the site from further erosion and vandalism it has faced.
Going to the Bottom of the World for New Zealand Single Malt Whisky
We visit one of the world’s southernmost distilleries in New Zealand.The pass came and went and the rain kept falling, oblivious to his claims. Not that it mattered to the three Scots in the car. If anything, we felt even more at home: Mist, mountains, summer rain. The fact that New Zealand’s South Island was so familiar seemed an act of typically generous Kiwi hospitality. Flocks of soggy Merino sheep munched their way across the high plateau, the hills in the distance lit Day-Glo green by the recent downpours.
At one archeological site called Al-Khoraiba, Anazi pointed at a bereft cistern.
Photos taken by French explorers Jaussen and Savignac, who visited the area in the early 20th century, showed the same cistern once featured the statue of a deity.
The walled city of Al-Ula, with tightly packed mud-brick and stone houses that were inhabited until modern times, sits decaying under the scorching sun.
But before a preservation plan is launched in collaboration with France, all archaeological treasures need to be accounted for, said Amr al-Madani, head of the Royal Al-Ula Commission.
A massive two-year surveying programme began in March, which includes scanning via helicopters, satellites, drones and a remote sensing technology called Lidar, he told AFP.
"This is a significant undertaking incorporating all levels of survey from aerial survey down to ground checking," said Quartermaine.
A Franco-Saudi deal to develop Al-Ula calls for the creation of a dedicated agency modelled on the lines of the French museums agency, which spearheaded the establishment of the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi.
Put Up A Dome Tent In A Flash
The longevity of any camping holiday is tied to how long it takes to put the tent up and down. Our handy walkthrough takes out the guesswork.We jog your memory with this handy guide to erecting a dome tent.
At least one large museum is planned to be built in Al-Ula.
Gerard Mestrallet, the former CEO of French electric utility company Engie, has been appointed special envoy of French President Emmanuel Macron for Al-Ula.
Al-Ula is expected to fully open up to global tourists within three to five years, launching the site as what Saudi officials describe as "a gift to the world".
- 'Pride in our past' -
Al-Ula is among a hidden trove of Saudi archaeological treasures.
Archaeologists last year used Google Maps to find hundreds of stone "gates" built from rock in a remote Saudi desert, which may date back as far as 7,000 years.
They also discovered evidence of 46 lakes believed to have existed in Saudi Arabia's northern Nefud desert, which experts say has lent credence to the theory that the region swung between periods of desertification and a wetter climate.
Tourism is one of the centrepieces of the blueprint to prepare the biggest Arab economy for the post-oil era.
Al-Ula's hotel infrastructure is currently inadequate, with only two facilities with a capacity of 120 rooms.
But the project is about reviving the glory of Saudi Arabia's ancient past.
There is currently scant information in Saudi history textbooks about Al-Ula.
"This is about national pride in our own past," Anazi said.
'You feel like you're going back in time': Inside the eerie Mexican ghost town of Real de Catorce, which sits 9,000ft up on a dusty plateau beyond a 17-mile cobblestone road .
The tiny Mexican village attracts hardy travellers keen to experience its eerie energy and Westworld ambience. To reach it means a drive up a hair-raisingly steep 17-mile cobblestone road and a journey along a narrow 1.5-mile-long tunnel. Austrian student Georg Kirchtag went there recently to live out his childhood dream of being a cowboy and told MailOnline Travel all about the time-warp experience.
Desert ruins of Al-Ula: Saudis revive forgotten past
A windswept desert landscape of pre-Islamic ruins is at the centre of Saudi-Franco preservation efforts: Al-Ula, an area rich in archaeological remnants, is seen as a jewel in the crown of...
Saudi Arabia’s al-Ula to become world’s largest open museum
VIDEO: Al-Ula to become world's largest open museum in Saudi Arabia Read More: http://ara.tv/phvpk _ Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alarabiya.english Follow us on Twitter:...
Friday, 20 july 2018
More than 1.6 million tourists visited Cyprus in the six months to June, the largest number ever for the first half of the year, the island's statistics office said Tuesday. Tourist arrivals in January-June rose 12.4 percent to 1.64 million from 1.46 million in the same period last […]
Thursday, 19 july 2018
She was reunited with her doggy - but not before it went on an adventure.August 'Gussie' Bridges, 8, lost her stuffed dog Cookie Dough in Virginia's Norfolk International Airport recently, not realising until she was in the car on the way […]
Wednesday, 18 july 2018
In Australia, where connectivity in remote places is a challenge, the digital detox holiday may be a building block in the design of engaged, intimate holidays. The opportunity to be offline will likely need to be coupled with a new suite of activities for tourists to enjoy. These may […]
In-room record players, vintage furniture and 'rainmaker' showers: Why THIS is the perfect Sydney hotel to check into after a long flightWednesday, 18 july 2018
MailOnline Travel's Colin Thorne checks into the Spicers Potts Point hotel and quickly gets into the groove thanks to his in-room record player and the hotel's beautifully boutique-y set-up.I'm in the Spicers Potts Point hotel, and the record player in my room seems like the […]
The top 10 most Instagrammed sunset locations in the world revealed - and it's California that tops the ranking with 5.7million snaps last yearWednesday, 18 july 2018
Nothing touches the soul quite like a sunset, and we all know it – 286 million images of sunsets were uploaded to Instagram last year worldwide. Sicily, Sydney and London also feature in the top 10 list.But some places lend themselves to orange hues better than others – and it seems that […]