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#KAWAatTantora

On the occasion of the second edition of the Winter at Tantora festival in AlUla, in Saudi Arabia which is just opening up to non-religious tourism, the KAWA team tells you about its journey in the Saudi desert, between historical discoveries, unique culinary experiences and fascinating encounters. Discover AlUla through our logbook.

Kawa lineKawa line
Day 1

Welcome to AlUla

For this second edition of Winter at Tantora, the Riyadh-AlUla flight of the day is sold out, with Arabic, English, French, Chinese, and Spanish spoken as well, proof that the country’s opening to tourism has had a certain resonance in the world. Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdulaziz’s domestic airport at AlUla is probably not yet designed to handle the hordes of tourists that are storming the region. But the structure, planned for 100,000 passengers per year and out of the ground in 2011, still smells new. As we pass through the entrance gates, a smiling and somewhat excited man greets us. His name is Sultan and he will be our driver and guide during our stay. Our journey can begin…

 

"People are very warm here. I feel at home, even though the culture is very different."
Tom, british tourist
Day 2

A fertile desert

Shoes covered in sand, but a full belly… After the first day’s bustle, the question on our minds is: “Where does everything we ate yesterday grow?” “Certainly not in the desert,” you would say. Well, think again. Today, Sultan is taking us on a voyage of discovery to green land. Because there’s more to Alula than just sand, pebbles and a few bimillennial relics. It is also an oasis with fertile soil, rich vegetation and a variety of plantations.

"People don't know it, but our land is very fertile".
Amal Al Shubaikan, owner of a farmland in AlUla
Day 3

3 millennia of art

We were only beginning to get used to the beauty of the place, and now AlUla is unfolding the final bouquet of a seduction operation that, we readily admit, was already going very well. Between a horseback ride to discover the local rock art, which would make Sydney Fox and Daniel Jackson pale in envy, and our light wanderings through Desert X, the huge contemporary art exhibition, we are fully entertained by 3000 years of artistic expression and remain amazed. Our discovery of AlUla and the Winter at Tantora festival will end here. Sultan drops us off at the airport. A last hug and here we are on the plane, heading for Riyadh, stars in our eyes and the impression of having lived 3 days outside of time.

"You have travelled through time. Now you've seen who we are."
Abdelaziz, comedian