Ancient Kingdoms Festival catalyses a fortnight of activities across a network of ancient sites
From 16th November - 2nd December 2023, AlUla will host the annual Ancient Kingdoms Festival, a fortnight of unique immersive experiences across a network of ancient sites in the ancient landscapes of AlUla. This year, the Festival shines an especially bright light on the cities of the Incense Road including Dadan and Hegra. These sites carry a rich legacy of being a historic crossroads connecting cultures across civilisations: vital hubs along the ancient Incense Road transporting precious goods such as frankincense, myrrh, spices and jewels.
A noteworthy milestone this year is Hegra’s 15-year anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – an honour recognising this once vibrant Nabataean city as a chapter of global history, and the first such designation for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In celebration of this, the Festival has been designed with this iconic site as the epicentre, introducing new and innovative ways to experience it. Visitors can enjoy a special tour with Augmented Reality (AR) glasses, unlocking the stories of the past that only experts and scholars have previously been privy to, or enjoy the natural heritage of the Hegra landscape in the latest Wildlife and Nature Tour that will launch in the second half of the festival. Not to be missed, an in situ exhibition – ‘Life at Hegra’ curated by AlUla’s heritage experts and – spotlights beautiful details of Nabataean life through fifteen objects discovered at the site.
Across multiple sites including Dadan – the capital of the two Ancient Kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan that rose to prosperity as a key trading post on the Incense Road – visitors of all ages can catch a glimpse of new discoveries taking place in real time. Visitors will also get a first view of an exciting new site, believed to be the ancient ostrich hunting ground of the people of Dadan.
Beyond Hegra and Dadan, the Festival programme features a suite of events that bring to life the stories of AlUla’s spectacular oasis and activates the historic oases of Khaybar and Tayma. Visitors can look forward to story-inspired recreations, hands-on history family events and imaginative heritage dining in the historic oasis.
This year's programme also has a dedicated community and family offer, including the launch of an ambitious schools engagement programme and an array of active-learning modules aimed at engaging young minds. The Festival will also open up opportunities for local employment and skills development.
Ancient Kingdoms Festival Guide
For more information and to book tickets visit: