The exhibition, titled 'AlUla, Wonder of Arabia', was opened on October 7 at the Institut du Monde Arabe (Institute of the Arab World) by the Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah and his French counterpart, Franck Riester, in a lavish ceremony.
Also present at the event were the director general of Unesco Irina Bokova, IMA president Jack Lang and architect Jean Nouvel, as well as other guests from the fields of archaeology, arts, history, culture, environmental and natural sciences.
Located in northwestern Saudi Arabia, and serving as a crossroads between East and West, AlUla has been built by successive societies and civilisations over millennia. The exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the natural and historic wonders of this region by immersing them in AlUla’s unique landscape and the ancient North Arabian Kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan, and the Nabataean city of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Inspired by the pioneering explorers and archaeologists who came to AlUla to discover and interpret its ancient civilisations, the curators of the exhibition, Doctors Laïla Nehmé and Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani, have worked tirelessly to present AlUla, Wonder of Arabia to the world.
The exhibition introduces visitors to AlUla’s spectacular natural beauty and rich cultural heritage through the presentation of rare archaeological objects, immersive multimedia and visuals by renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
To highlight its significance as a global destination, the Commission used the occasion to launch its Cultural Manifesto for AlUla. The Manifesto sets a clear direction for the long term development of the region, articulating the Commission’s commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism across what will effectively be a vast open-air cultural experience, enabling exciting journeys of discovery.
The diverse and wide-ranging cultural development in AlUla will embrace heritage, nature and a bold mandate for art and cultural production, helping to drive a new creative economy in the region.
The Manifesto prioritises the preservation of the region, its history, and the development of skills for current and future inhabitants of AlUla - custodians of AlUla’s past, and at the centre of its future as a dynamic economy and society and as a world-class destination.
Among the many new visitor experiences to be developed are the Black Basalt Museum - taking its inspiration from AlUla’s volcanic rock formations; Wadi AlFann - the Valley of the Arts - an ambitious collection of contemporary commissions and sculpture set in AlUla’s extraordinary landscape and the Hegra Museum - exploring the life and legacy of the Nabataeans who established their principal southern city in the kingdom.
HH Prince Badr bin Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Farhan al Saud said: “The essence of AlUla is the interrelationship between heritage, art and nature. The opening of this exhibition together with the launch of the Cultural Manifesto of AlUla acts as a landmark invitation to the world, to preserve our global heritage, balance ambition with responsibility and deliver the next layer of our story, for future generations to treasure.”
The exhibition in Paris formally opened its doors to the public on October 9 and will run until January 19, 2020.- TradeArabia News Service
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