AlUla’s heritage sports revive ancient traditions and cultural legacy

AlUla's position as a cradle of Saudi tradition continues to evolve as it celebrates its rich heritage sports legacy. These events are deeply rooted in the esteemed cultural history of The Kingdom and the broader Arab world. In the heart of AlUla lies the AlMugheera Heritage Sports Village, a beacon of AlUla’s vision to preserve and showcase these events, offering an ideal platform by which to highlight Saudi’s unique identity. 

Falconry, a practice that has endured for centuries, remains a pivotal aspect of life throughout the region. The most recent addition to AlUla's year-round calendar of events and heritage sports competitions was the inaugural AlUla Falcon Cup, a remarkable event that witnessed over 2,000 elite falcons vying for a portion of an unprecedented $16 million prize pool. The AlUla Falcon Cup follows the resounding success of AlUla's hosting of the Horseback Archery World Cup and the Tent Pegging World Championships at the AlFursan Equestrian Village, drawing participants from across the globe for a dazzling showcase of skill and showmanship.

These heritage events in AlUla complement the increasing diversity of sporting competitions, including the AlUla Camel Cup, the prestigious Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo tournament, and the challenging Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup, where riders traverse 120KM CEI* competition of AlUla's rugged desert terrain. Given the profound connection between the Saudi people and horses throughout history, it is apt that the World Endurance Championship 2026, under the auspices of the Saudi Equestrian Federation and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, is set in AlUla’s ancient landscape.

Heritage sports were once indispensable to life in this region, embodying the ancient skills upon which the forebears of modern-day Arabs relied. This cultural heritage is vividly depicted in the 2,000-year-old rock art found in AlUla, portraying the central role of horses and camels in ancient labour, travel, and desert survival. In recognition of this heritage, 2024 has been designated as the Year of the Camel, with the recently held AlUla Camel Cup standing as an annual celebration and the pinnacle of camel racing — an opportunity for visitors to partake in one of the region's oldest sports.

The vibrant local community and curious visitors alike have an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in these time-honoured sports through a series of immersive workshops. In these interactive sessions, participants can embrace the mastery of tent pegging, which uses swords, and the art of archery, allowing them to connect with the traditions and techniques of the past.

These hands-on experiences showcase AlUla's burgeoning reputation as an authentic destination where visitors can actively engage with the culture, customs, and enduring legacy of the Saudi people. Beyond the acquisition of valuable skills, these workshops create a profound and personal connection to the rich heritage that continues to thrive in AlUla today, serving as a testament to the enduring spirit of this remarkable region.

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