JEDDAH — The heritage city of AlUla in northern Saudi Arabia has been included on a list of Seven Wonders of the World for 2023.

The list was compiled by award-winning travel writer Aaron Millar.

AlUla is a place of extraordinary history and cultural heritage. However, until recently very few people outside Arabia knew about the place or visited the region.

According to Millar, when the site was officially opened to e visitors by the end of 2022, it unveiled a 200,000-year-old piece of Arabian history.

AlUla is located in the heart of Saudi Arabia’s northwestern desert, much of which is still unexplored. It is estimated that less than 5 percent of the site has been excavated. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Hegra (Al-Hijr) is famous for its elaborate monumental tombs carved into stark red sandstone cliffs.

AlUla Old Town is a labyrinth of now abandoned mud brick houses strewn with the earthy hues of the desert. There is ancient rock art and restaurants from to-name chefs – including Maraya, set up by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, and located on top of the largest mirrored building in the world.

Of the original Seven Wonders of the World, only one — the Great Pyramids of Giza — still exists. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Temple of Artemis, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus have all faded to dust and memory. So, Millar decided to list seven new wonders of the world every year, picking “the most awe-inspiring places on the planet for star-gazing, wildlife spotting and astonishing panoramas.”

Besides AlUla, other sites listed among Millar’s Seven Wonders of the World for 2023 include Mont Saint-Michel, France; Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina; Tiger's Nest Monastery, Bhutan; Cappadocia, Turkey; The Lake District, Great Britain; and The Sardine Run, South Africa. 

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