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Second season of Winter at Tantora kicks off with unique events
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 21 - 12 - 2019

ALULA — The most prominent cultural, heritage and arts event in AlUla governorate kicked off on Thursday and will continue until March 7, 2020. The second edition of the season will take its visitors on a journey through time via numerous unique events and activities in AlUla, in the northwestern part of Saudi Arabia.
During a period of 12 weeks, Tantora is set to witness a number of rich events and activities that will focus on the notion of the confluence of Eastern and Western civilizations.
They will also depict the deep-rooted civilization extending throughout history in AlUla as well as the governorate's historic symbolism, as AlUla has continued to be the meeting point of cultures and civilizations from different parts of the world throughout history.
Several open air shows are scheduled to be held on 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.
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", in addition to other events like "Wadi Al-Qura Souq" (Al-Qura Valley Market), Winter Amusement Park, and AlUla Old Town.
There will be special performances by musical maestros, from top international artists such as Lionel Richie and Enrique Iglesias to regional legends such as Omar Khairat, and an exciting line-up of stars from around the world will light up the stage.
The CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla Governorate Amr Madani said: "The Second Season of Winter at Tantora provides visitors with an exceptional opportunity to enjoy the most outstanding, yet pristine archeological sites and beautiful sceneries in the world, before reopening them for visitors from different parts of the world in early October 2020."
"The visitors will get rich and accurate information on the historical sites in AlUla, which were the meeting point for different cultures and civilizations from different parts of the world throughout thousands of years," Madani added.
He stated that the visitors will enjoy the beauty of the land of civilizations from a unique perspective, including an array of exciting activities.
They will be able to enjoy a dynamic range of cultural experiences, culinary journeys and exhilarating activities such as an air balloon ride, vintage aircraft experience, and hiking and 4x4 excursions.
The "Winter at Tantora" season is celebrating the deep-rooted AlUla heritage at the Tantora Monument, which is in the form of a sundial that determines the four seasons of the year. It is from this that the season has derived its name.
The season will have an effective presence of local cadres from AlUla governorate, who are undergoing training within the Kingdom and abroad, to develop their skills in the hospitality, culture and tourism fields.
Armed with knowledge and accurate know-how, narrators and tourist guides recruited from among the people of the area will guide tourists and visitors of the season and narrate the story of the land of civilizations. This is after receiving training in their field via experts from France, USA, and the UAE.
Twenty-four young men and women chosen from the inhabitants of AlUla, who have received training and are being supervised by an elite of big international chefs, will prepare a variety of tasty international dishes that will blend the culinary culture in AlUla with international culinary arts. Hence, the season will have an original and superb culinary experience.
As part of the essential role of AlUla inhabitants in the preparations for "Winter at Tantora" season, over 100 male and female participants have taken part in the "Protection Program" by preparing the archeological sites to receive the visitors. They also help in preventing trespassing and assist in demolishing any constructions carried out if they disfigure the facades or the surrounding areas.
The Royal Commission for AlUla has completed works for developing the infrastructure for AlUla Airport, increasing its capacity to fourfold to reach 400,000 passengers annually instead of 100,000.
This is in addition to increasing the number of housing units including desert resorts and caravans so as to enhance the experience of Winter at Tantora season's visitors in the land of civilizations.

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