The historic destination of AlUla in north-west Saudi Arabia has been immortalised in AlUla Ever, the latest release from luxury publisher Assouline. Featuring visually rich stories and compelling narratives, the essence of AlUla is expertly captured and communicated through Assouline’s unparalleled signature style.
Released today across the GCC, the new addition to the Assouline’s Travel Series takes readers on an artfully curated journey through 288 pages that showcase AlUla’s extraordinary geological landscapes, monumental heritage sites, and vibrant arts and culture scene. Comprising a vast collection of original photographs and illustrations accompanied by the evocative prose of French journalist Jérôme Garcin, AlUla Ever reflects the authentic appeal of this unique luxury heritage boutique destination.
Offering intriguing insights into AlUla’s seamless fusion of old and new, the culture-focused travel tome aptly demonstrates how the destination embraces innovation and progress while remaining true to the integrity and authenticity of its culture, history and heritage. Featuring an eclectic mix of images depicting the unique customs, traditions, and genuine hospitality of AlUla, the collectible brings together the rich cultural tapestry that makes the AlUla experience truly exceptional.
A largely undiscovered masterpiece spanning over 200,000 years of human history, AlUla has only recently opened to international visitors. A place of extraordinary human and natural heritage, AlUla is where the ancient Nabataean civilisation chose for their principal southern city, second only to Petra now located in modern-day Jordan, and where the kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan ruled vast areas across the peninsula.
Each progressive civilisation has left its indelible mark on AlUla, which can be witnessed in the remarkably well-preserved monuments at Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO heritage site, and at Jabal Ikmah, the world’s largest open-air library recently inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World register. In AlUla Old Town, which was awarded UNTWO Best Tourism Village in 2022, a labyrinth of narrow streets lined by more than 900 traditional mud brick buildings, the echo of the generations that continuously inhabited the area from around the 12th century until the more recent 1980s can still be felt.
A travel destination unlike any other, AlUla is a breathtaking oasis in Saudi Arabia where ancient sites are placed in conversation with modern progress. A spectacularly preserved cultural and historical masterpiece, AlUla has existed for millennia and was only recently opened to international travelers. From Old Town to rare wildlife, this destination offers a plethora of marvels to discover.
Begin the day in a luxury villa, surrounded by a magnificent desert landscape. A vintage Land Rover arrives, ready to ferry visitors across Hegra, an archaeological wonderland with carefully maintained Nabataean tombs dating to the first century BCE. Then perhaps attend an action-packed match during the Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo tournament or get lost among the verdant date palms in the AlUla Oasis. As night descends, catch a world-class performance at the Maraya concert hall, followed by a magical stargazing tour. And the following day, a whole new set of adventures awaits. AlUla Ever offers readers a front row seat to the cultural, historic and creative wonders of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
AlUla’s future development is centred around responsible growth that benefits local populations and future generations, with a focus on sustainable, ‘light-touch’ tourism. The release of ‘AlUla Ever’ comes as the destination wholly embraces its traditional arts and culture, sharing it with the world while also inviting local and international artists to be part of the modern future of art within the city. In addition to programs at art school Madrasat Addeera, offering the opportunity to revitalise skills in the ancient handicrafts and jewellery, textiles and leatherwork, 2024 will welcome the third edition of Desert X AlUla – a juxtaposition of contemporary land art set against ancient landscapes, showcasing the essence of AlUla’s creative spirit. And in 2025 the first five artworks will be installed in Wadi AlFann – a global art destination offering a profound cultural experience through era-defining permanent artworks that will exist in harmony with awe-inspiring landscape.
Central to AlUla’s appeal is its ability to transport visitors on a transformative journey where the ancient and contemporary seamlessly intertwine. By immersing themselves in the cultural richness, natural beauty, and authentic spirit embodied by AlUla, travellers have the opportunity to create cherished memories and forge a profound connection with this extraordinary destination – a place that maintains deep roots in its history and heritage but is continuously evolving with its eyes fixed firmly on the future.
Jérôme Garcin is a French journalist and writer. He is the former news editor of L’Événement du jeudi and chief editor of L’Express. He is now producer and host of the radio program Le Masque et la Plume on France Inter, and the deputy editor of Le Nouvel Observateur, in charge of the cultural section. Garcin has written numerous books over the past four decades.
Founded in Paris in 1994 by Prosper and Martine Assouline, Assouline is the first luxury brand on culture. It began with the desire to create a new, contemporary style of book, using the couple’s experienced eye for visually rich stories and compelling narratives. Guided by their passion for knowledge, culture and travel, the Assoulines have since expanded their vision to 1,700 titles in three main collections, along with special editions and unique library accessories—a grand oeuvre of inspiring creations. Throughout the last quarter of a century, the brand has established a network of international boutiques in prominent locations across the globe. Assouline has also inaugurated a curated library service, working closely with clients to visualize, design, and develop bespoke, one-of-akind libraries.
With a distinguished team of creative talents—which includes the founders’ son Alexandre—the brand continues to reinvent the notion of true luxury. Assouline’s roster of collaborators includes some of the world’s most respected brands, artists, photographers, writers and designers. Assouline continues to exude an unparalleled signature style and elegant savoir faire, which has globally redefined modern publishing.