AlUla welcomes guests on world first ‘Museum in the Sky’ flight by SAUDIA

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Visitors are invited to book a unique inflight experience on November 4th as SAUDIA and AlUla highlight arguably the world’s biggest archaeological program

The world’s first “Museum in the Sky” is a joint collaboration between AlUla and SAUDIA Airlines, to highlight the significance of AlUla as a living museum, with only a small fraction of archaeological sites identified currently being investigated.

The flight will take off from Riyadh to AlUla on the 4th of November 2021. Onboard the flying museum, a replica collection of artefacts discovered in AlUla during excavations by archaeologists reveal some of the mysteries of AlUla’s ancient civilizations.

SAUDIA is also using the opportunity to launch their new In-Flight Entertainment System (IFE), Discover Saudi Arabia, on which passengers will be encouraged to watch the Discovery Channel documentary movie – Architects of Ancient Arabia – a 2021 release full-length documentary movie produced by PowderHouse revealing that some of human civilization’s first building blocks were set in place in AlUla.

An introduction to the documentary will be provided by Archaeologist, Dr. Rebecca Foote, the Director of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Research at The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU). As well as introducing the documentary that she appears in, Rebecca will offer an explanation about the artefact museum pieces and passengers will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Dr. Rebecca Foote said: “There is an extraordinary volume of work ongoing in AlUla by both local and international archaeological teams, and yet we are only just beginning to understand the complexity of AlUla’s past. AlUla is a true hidden gem in the Arabian Peninsula, and we are slowly revealing its secrets. I am looking forward to sharing more about our work to the passengers onboard SAUDIA’s Museum in the Sky.”

Kerrie McEvoy, Channel Director, Discovery Channel, Europe, Middle East & Africa said: “We are delighted that Architects of Ancient Arabia will be displayed onboard SAUDIA IFE system, we aim to serve our passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. This was a special project for Discovery, and AlUla is a special place with untouched desert and some of the most stunningly well-preserved evidence of ancient civilizations. We hope that all SAUDIA passengers will enjoy the movie during their flight times.”

Said Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Management and Marketing Officer at RCU: “Museum in the Sky is providing a true connection back to AlUla as a living museum and the significance of the archaeological work we do in AlUla, which we believe is the biggest archaeological program in the world right now. We are honored to work with SAUDIA and to welcome these passengers and all those who are planning visits over the next few months to discover more of AlUla’s living history.”

From SAUDIA Group, Khaled Tash, Vice President of Corporate Communication said: “As the national flag carrier and Wings of Vision 2030, it is a privilege to showcase heritage sites and hidden gems of the Kingdom. We have created a dedicated channel in our In-Flight Entertainment System to do just that and to display this beautifully produced documentary by the Discovery Channel.

Broadening our partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla, we are creating a ‘Museum in the Sky’ experience to AlUla that brings its rich heritage to life on board SAUDIA. We are eager to promote AlUla globally as an unmissable tourist destination and bring the world to AlUla.”

AlUla is offering a wide range of all-year-round and seasonal activities to welcome both domestic and international visitors over the coming months.

Guests on the Museum in the Sky will have the opportunity to book some of the first tickets to the new Hegra After Dark experience. This new progressive evening event in the World Heritage Site welcomes guests to enjoy the silence and have a taste of AlUla with light refreshments served in a candlelit setting, enjoy the popular living immersion theatre performance, Queen Shuqailath, and end with a stargazing experience surrounded by the stunning Nabataean works of art.   

Under the banner of AlUla Moments, musical events kicked off end of last month, with famous musical artist Hiba Tawaji, who performed a live event to her fans on October 29th at Maraya – the first concert at the venue since March 2020.

A new program of four distinct festivals commences from 21st of December 2021 including the 3rd Winter at Tantora, AlUla Skies, AlUla Arts, and AlUla Wellness Festival.

In addition, visitors will enjoy a wide variety of new culinary experiences such as Maraya Social by Chef Jason Atherton, the return of Annabel’s.

Equestrian events will include the eagerly awaited new haute couture horse fashion event, the return of the competitive Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Race and AlUla Desert Polo.

About Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA):

Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) is the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Established in 1945, the company is one of the Middle East’s largest airlines.

SAUDIA is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO). It has been one of the 19 member airlines of the SkyTeam alliance since 2012.

SAUDIA has received many prestigious industry awards and recognitions. Most recently, it was ranked a Global Five-Star Major Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and the carrier was awarded the Diamond status by APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying.

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 Roman’s conquered the Nabataeans in 106 CE.

In addition to Hegra, AlUla is also home to ancient Dadan, the captial of the Dadan and Lihyan Kingdoms and considered to be one of the most developed 1st millennium BCE cities of the Arabian Penninsula. And Jabal Ikmah, an open air library of hundreds of inscriptions and writings in many different languages. Also 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.

About Discovery:

Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as discovery+, Food Network Kitchen and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Network, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe.