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Winter at Tantora 2019: International shows, special events await visitors
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 10 - 2019

RIYADH – Tickets for Winter at Tantora 2019 Festival, which highlights arts, culture, history and heritage of AlUla, are on sale now and can be purchased at, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
Weekend and one-day tickets are available in three packages: Gold, Platinum and Diamond, to meet all budgets and needs of guests including accommodation, transportation, cultural experiences and adventures, as well as watching artistic performances.
The festival also announced the participation of Tuscan opera singer, Andrea Bocelli, who will make his second appearance at the festival on Jan. 31, Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias on Feb. 21, Oscar-winning international star Lionel Richie on Feb. 28, Egyptian composer Omar Khairat on Dec. 27 and the Greek pianist Yanni on Jan. 7, 2020.
The festival will include a play inspired by the glories and history of AlUla to be staged on Feb. 14 by Caracalla Dance Theater titled "Jameel Bouthaina".
Celebration Beethoven: Winter at Tantora brings together Renaud Capucon, Lit Armstrong, Edgar Moreau, Guillame Chilemme, Adrien La Marca and the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse for a celebration of the mastery of Beethoven on Jan. 3, 2020.
‘Winter at Tantora' Festival offers a variety of diverse experiences to match every interest. The festival runs each weekend from Dec. 19 until March 7, 2020 in AlUla, home to Saudi Arabia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra.
Festival-goers will have the opportunity to participate in a range of unique events and experiences, from visiting spectacular historic sites to hearing world-class musical performances to soaring above the landscape in a hot air balloon or vintage aircraft.
Maraya Concert Hall — Reflecting Beauty — inspired by the natural beauty of the region, Maraya — "mirror" in Arabic — is a modern engineering feat. Described as a masterpiece of the region, the concert hall features outside walls covered entirely by mirrors that quite literally reflect the surrounding area's breathtaking landscape. With a capacity of 500 and the latest technology in sound, lighting and digital projections, the facility draws a touring lineup of world-class performances.
Positioned as "A Timeless Celebration in a Timeless Place", the festival has four themes: Reimagining Heritage, Cultural Oasis, Adventure and Discovery, and Secret Escape.
Reimagining Heritage: AlUla's rich history is on full display during Winter at Tantora, with many heritage sites specially opened for the festival. You won't just visit monuments of the past, but rather live in destinations that capture the region's heritage today.
The ancient cities of Hegra and Dadan will boast communities recreated based on the knowledge of how the peoples lived, refocusing attention from monumental structures to the wider story of why they existed.
Cultural Oasis: This offers a cultural oasis as well, with a variety of performances and immersive experiences throughout the festival. Enjoy weekly concerts, a sculpture garden, multiple art exhibits and an open market featuring locally made arts and crafts.
Bathe in a Lihyanite wash basin, recreated using the same techniques as the ancient basins found at Dadan. Enjoy pick-your-own farm experiences, luxury brand boutiques and pop-ups, and serene mountain surroundings that will help you attain a sense of calm you never thought possible.
Adventure & discovery: An area as geographically epic as AlUla offers epic adventures, too. During Winter at Tantora, you can hike diverse nature trails, hike winding paths and tour an ancient volcano offering a contrasting surface of black and white lava flows. You can enjoy airship or vintage aircraft flights, or take a helicopter tour to the Red Sea to see areas of Saudi Arabia virtually untouched by humans.
You can soar on a hot air balloon over sand-swept landscapes and watch one of the most-exciting endurance horse races in the world. If you love to explore the outdoors, AlUla is the perfect playground.
Secret escapes: One of the benefits of going on holiday is to escape the stresses of your everyday life, and Winter at Tantora is a great place to get away. You'll easily forget what you left behind as you welcome the silence of a meditation garden, relax in a desert oasis or pamper yourself at a spa.
Then you'll create new — and delicious! — memories as you savor world-class cuisine at pop-up restaurants under the stars, enjoy local flavors at diverse food trucks or pick your own produce at local farms.
On the other hand, the second "Balloon Festival" in AlUla provides a popular destination for balloon enthusiasts across the region to experience the sky flying with a fleet of 100 balloons, explore the wonders drawn by thousands of years on the land of AlUla and enjoy flying individually at sunset.
Visitors can also enjoy more than 200 jockeys from around the world who will compete for a 120-km track at the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup of Endurance Race, the world's second largest race of its kind.
Complementing this will be tours of ancient 2,000 year-old sites that will be brought to life using state-of-the-art Augmented Reality (AR) technology.
AlUla is located on the ancient incense road between southern Arabian Peninsula and Egypt, and has become a hub of commercial and cultural exchange as a rich oasis that has created an ideal environment for the prosperity of civilizations.
The Resort: It will provide exclusive tours under the stars in the presence of international Michelin-class luxury restaurants created in sites of archeological significance and scenic nature.
Last year, the inaugural festival had a turnout of over 37,000 visitors from around the world over ten-weeks and hosted household names such as Andrea Bocelli, Yanni, Majida El Roumi and Lang Lang for sell-out performances.
Building on this success, organizers are extending this year's festival by two weeks and are expecting over 40,000 visitors to experience the rich display of culture and heritage on offer.
For more information on the festival's program, visit, where tickets are now on sale. For the latest information, we invite you to follow @WinteratTantora on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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