• Hailah Al Enezi, 60, weaves goods from camel, sheep and goat wool, a skill passed down in her family from generation to generation
  • She said: ‘It’s a legacy, it’s a heritage, and I would never let these traditions die’

ALULA: The AlUla Camel Cup has a traditional Heritage Village at the revamped AlUla Camel Racing Venue that fuses traditional and modern, sporting and cultural, and elemental and opulent.

Held under the patronage of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), the inaugural AlUla Camel Cup reaches a finale on Friday, with the main prizes being awarded.

Organised by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) as part of the AlUla Moments calendar in collaboration with the Saudi Camel Racing Federation (SCRF), The AlUla Camel Cup however, is far more than sport, embracing aspects of AlUla’s rich heritage and culture.

Hailah Al Enezi is selling traditional woven goods such as sadu carpets, rugs, pillow and cushion covers, and decorations for abayas and camels under her Bint Albadiyah – Girl of the Desert – label at the Heritage Village’s Al Qafila Market.

The skilled AlUla-born 60-year-old, who also helps train youngsters in the traditional art, began her work at the age of 12, with the techniques she learned passed down from her mother, who similarly also learned from her mother.

Al Enezi, who uses camel, sheep and goat wool in her work, and whose daughter assists her, said: “It’s a legacy, it’s a heritage, and I would never let these traditions die. We have a rich gift in our country, and I will always share my knowledge with anyone who wants to learn.”

She added: “Events that RCU are organising such as the AlUla Camel Cup are very important to AlUla. We are given space to sell our wares at the Heritage Village. Camel racing is part of our heritage and culture, but just as important as camel racing are our traditional arts and crafts.”

The Al Qafila market offers an eclectic mix of locally made souvenirs and handicrafts.

Hanadi Abu Kasheem, also born and bred in AlUla, is featuring her Abaq brand – which means ‘Essence’ – at the Al Qafila Market, and sells handmade items such as soap, creams, candles, lip salve, and henna.

The brand has been going for one year after she taught herself by learning online. Being able to create a recent request for soap with the essence from the milk of a goat left her particularly satisfied.

Abu Kasheem said: “This is my passion. The AlUla Camel Cup is very good. I’ve already had many visitors from outside AlUla buying my products.”

Just across from the Al Qafila strip in the Heritage Village, 30-year-old Bayan Saud, also originating from  AlUla , sells pottery, such as coffee cups and decorative vases, from her own-named Bayan brand. She spent two years perfecting her craft at Madrasat Addeera, the arts school in AlUla Old Town.

Saud said: “It is my passion and an integral part of our culture. I find a lot of my work is bought by the younger generation, who are embracing the traditions of the past. It is very interesting to be able to sell our products at the AlUla Camel Cup to people from all over the world.”

The Heritage Village also offers immersive experiences such as watching live camels and learning about their incredible feats and attributes, painting camel monuments, henna, calligraphy, sand bottling, and sand art areas.

For dining in the wonderful setting of the village, there is a diversity of choices from burgers to traditional Saudi food and snacks such as popcorn, ice-cream, and kunafa.

People from far away from AlUla have also come to showcase their creations.

Designer Salhah Al Shahrani’s Therahdresses label specialises in beautifully decorated abayas. Originally from the green mountains of Abha but now in Al Khobar, she was thrilled to have an opportunity to swap the green mountains for the desert mountains of the Hijaz for the big event. Her 15-year-old cousin Rand Baniali has put a smile on the faces of AlUla Cup attendees by modelling three different and spectacularly designed outfits per day – one in the morning, afternoon, and evening – during the AlUla Camel Cup.

Al Shahrani said: “The AlUla Camel Cup has been so good and the Heritage Village such a good addition.”

Whether your interests are camel racing, the Heritage Village, or both, there is still time to be among the fortunate attendees at the AlUla Camel Cup, the pinnace of camel racing. Single day tickets for the event, priced at SAR50, remain available at: https://tickets.experiencealula.com/en/experiences/alula-camel-cup-pass

  • IMAGES: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1-sUv62bD8jZ0duxoOY4aYu9uS6f0uMIe
  • VIDEO: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1ZOSUuhxq5VlpbOhy_HJIgxuu-aKcfM6s


For more information, please visit www.experiencealula.com
Media contact: media@rcu.gov.sa
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About the AlUla Camel Cup

Under the patronage of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of the Royal Commission for AlUla, the inaugural AlUla Camel Cup, to be held from March 14-17, 2023, celebrates, and preserves the cherished homegrown sport of camel racing, while elevating Saudi Arabia’s traditional pursuit to new horizons against the stunning backdrop of AlUla.

Set in the splendor of extraordinary human and natural heritage, the AlUla Camel Cup is an ode to the rich cultural inheritance of an ancient sport and a tribute to the camel and its pivotal role in AlUla’s own ascension.

With a grand prize pot of SAR80 million, the AlUla Camel Cup is the pinnacle of the Saudi Arabian camel racing season, crowning a true ‘Champion of Champions’. Each day welcomes a different kind of race, testing the speed, strength, and endurance of these remarkable ‘ships of the desert’.

The AlUla Camel Cup also features an arts-filled evening with global and local artists across multiple mediums and a cultural market, which offers AlUla-inspired foods and handicrafts.

A unique, beautiful fusion of modern and ancient, sport and culture, elemental and opulent, the AlUla Camel Cup is a special and momentous event that propels the Kingdom’s heritage into motion by providing an exhilarating display through the ages.

About AlUla Moments:

AlUla Moments is AlUla’s new home of events. The brand was launched at the end of 2021 and introduced four new festivals to celebrate and unlock AlUla’s stories, uncover its secrets, and celebrate local and international cultures. With 7,000 years of human civilisations and home to some of the most sophisticated ancient Kingdoms of antiquity, AlUla is no stranger to social gathering and cultural celebrations.

The four festivals introduced were Winter at Tantora, which returned to celebrate heritage, culture and music, in addition to the AlUla Skies, AlUla Arts and AlUla Wellness Festival.

The festivals offered a selection of experiences in art, culture, music, nature, wellness, equestrian, food and astronomy. All of which were celebrating the culture, history and legacy of AlUla and the civilisations that once called the land of AlUla their home.

In 2023, AlUla Moments presents five major festivals and six marque events, including the return of Winter at Tantora, AlUla Wellness Festival, AlUla Arts Festival, AlUla Skies presented by SAUDIA, AZIMUTH, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup 2023, and the Ancient Kingdoms Festival.

For more information, please visit experiencealula.com/en/alula-moments

About AlUla:

Located 1,100 km from Riyadh, in North-West Saudi Arabia, AlUla is a place of extraordinary natural and human heritage. The vast area, covering 22,561km², includes a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years to when the Lihyan and Nabataean kingdoms reigned.

The most well-known and recognised site in AlUla is Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 52-hectare ancient city, Hegra was the principal southern city of the Nabataean Kingdom and is comprised of 111 well-preserved tombs, many with elaborate facades cut out of the sandstone outcrops surrounding the walled urban settlement.

Current research also suggests Hegra was the most southern outpost of the Roman Empire after the Romans conquered the Nabataeans in 106 CE.

In addition to Hegra, AlUla is also home to ancient Dadan, the capital of the Dadan and Lihyan Kingdoms and considered to be one of the most developed 1st millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Peninsula. There is also Jabal Ikmah, an open air library of hundreds of inscriptions and writings in many different languages, as well as AlUla Old Town, a labyrinth of more than 900 mudbrick homes developed from at least the 12th century, and Hijaz Railway and Hegra Fort, key sites in the story and conquests of Lawrence of Arabia.

For more information, please visit: www.experiencealula.com

About Thomas Lyte:

Thomas Lyte is a Royal Warrant holder as silversmiths and goldsmiths to The Late Queen Elizabeth II. A contemporary luxury brand disrupting a traditional industry, they have quickly established a reputation as world-class designers and makers of exquisite bespoke silverware.

Thomas Lyte are passionate about bold design in precious metals and specialise in custom commissions for both private clients and leading organisations, boasting unmatched credentials in the world of sport and international elite sporting trophies.

Notably, Thomas Lyte are responsible for many of the world’s most iconic trophies including the Emirates FA Cup, the Rugby World Cup, the AFC Asian Cup, the FIFAe World Cup, and golf’s Ryder Cup, having forged relationships with some of the largest and most prestigious partners across professional sport.

The talented team at Thomas Lyte’s London-based purpose-built silver workshops make the conceivable possible. They combine the latest technologies with centuries of knowledge and are renowned for our stunning designs, superb craftsmanship, and incomparable service.

For more information, please visit: www.thomaslyte.com