Over the past few weeks, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia played host to thousands of tourists and visitors who came in from all over the world to attend the first edition of the Winter at Tantora Festival 2019, which kicked off in the historic site of Al Ula on December 21. Known for its golden, sandstone mountains and well-preserved remains, the centuries-old destination served as a picturesque backdrop for a bevy of international and regional superstars who performed concerts as part of “Stars Under the Stars” (a series of eight weekend concerts), including world-renowned composer Yanni, singing sensation Mariah Carey, Egyptian musician Omar Khairat, and a three-dimensional holograph of Umm Kulthum.
In addition to performances from the world’s top artists, the eight-week long festival also hosted a number of recreational and sports events, such as a hot air balloon festival as well as the prestigious Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup— Which drew in HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai and his son, HH Sheikh Hamdan.
Indeed, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince HH Mohammed bin Salman is on a mission to transform the UNESCO World Heritage Site into a world-renowned tourism destination. Last week, the Crown Prince launched a major tourist-boosting project in Al Ula, which will include a resort designed by French architect Jean Nouvel (he designed the Louvre Abu Dhabi).
As we approach the end of the eight-week-long festival — it wraps up on February 22 — we look back at some of the most striking Instagrams from the event. Click through the slides in the gallery above, and prepare to fuel your wanderlust.