His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Chairman of the Royal Commission for AlUla, launched The Journey Through Time Masterplan for AlUla, Saudi Arabia that will immerse visitors in 200,000 years of natural and human history. The Journey Through Time design and spatial visionary masterplan sets out a 15-year programme to responsibly and sustainably develop the core historical area of AlUla, a unique cultural landscape located in north-west Arabia.
The plan contributes to the advancement of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, opening a new chapter in the development of AlUla as a Living Museum while accelerating the growth of a diversified economy and vibrant community.
The Journey Through Time Masterplan will transform AlUla into a global destination for heritage, nature, art and culture.
Five districts spanning the 20km heart of AlUla will serve as waypoints on the Journey Through Time, from Old Town in the south to Hegra Historical City in the north, each shaped by the site’s natural and cultural heritage. The districts are: AlUla Old Town (District 1); Dadan (District 2); Jabal Ikmah (District 3); Nabataean Horizon (District 4) and Hegra Historical City (District 5).
The districts will each focus on an existing heritage site and will be traversed by AlUla’s ancient oasis. A 9km portion, constituting the heart of the Cultural Oasis, will be fully rejuvenated, starting in AlUla Old Town.
Fifteen new cultural assets including museums, galleries and cultural centres will serve as landmarks across each district (full list of assets is appended in the Journey Through Time Factsheet).
The wadi and the low-carbon tramway will mostly follow the route used by pilgrims on the Hijaz Railway for many centuries before, ensuring a memorable visual and interpretive experience of the transition from oasis to desert.
The Kingdoms Institute, a flagship component of the plan, will be a global hub for archaeological knowledge and research dedicated to the cultures and civilisations that have inhabited this area for more than 7,000 years, including the ancient kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan and the magnificent Nabataeans, who built the city of Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Journey Through Time Masterplan was developed under the leadership of HRH the Crown Prince and the guidance of HH Prince Badr, the Saudi Minister of Culture and the Governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU). The Journey Through Time Masterplan was envisioned as a way to capture the deep-rooted essence of what AlUla already is – an oasis of unique culture, heritage, nature and community – while curating a timeless legacy with stories of the past to inform the future and open new chapters in AlUla’s unfolding history.
Each district of The Journey Through Time Masterplan is a cultural landmark in its own right and reflective of the singular and ever-evolving history, topography and nature that is unique to that particular location. This spatial system of highly differentiated villages, experiences and cultural assets is designed to be visitor-centric and rewards more immersive discovery, exploration and longer stays. Symbolising Saudi Arabia’s renewed commitment to the preservation and protection of world heritage, knowledge and research, the masterplan is backed by extensive scientific studies on AlUla’s human patterns, environmental and geological evolution, developed by a team of international and Saudi experts.