Dotted across AlUla’s vast, mysterious landscape are markers of time and civilisations past, whether it’s the ancient inscriptions etched into the magnificent open library of Jabal Ikmah and surrounding mountains, or the monumental, elaborately carved tombs of Hegra that hold the secrets and legacies of the Nabataean elite.
The history of this ancient, nearly untouched destination is being protected and preserved with an eye to the future – a future where AlUla thrives as a peerless cultural destination within the region.
Handpicked by a competition jury of experts in architecture, landscape, and museology, the two visionary architects, Beirut-born architect Lina Ghotmeh from Paris and Asif Khan from the United Kingdom, will craft the two remarkable museums that are set to redefine the cultural landscape of AlUla.
Dr. Khaled Azzam, the mastermind behind AlUla’s Journey Through Time Masterplan and head of the jury, said in a statement at the time: “AlUla is a spectacular landscape of discovery, where heritage, works of nature and humankind combine to reveal a long and intimate relationship between people and their environment. This masterplan will guide the reinvigoration of AlUla establishing a new cultural legacy including the implementation of a circular economy expected to create 38,000 new jobs.”
Renowned for her boundary-breaking projects and current role in designing the 2023 Serpentine Pavilion, Ghotmeh is set to mesmerise audiences with her design for the Contemporary Art Museum. Ghotmeh's museum manifests itself as a series of garden pavilions, an interplay between the natural and the artistic, leading visitors on a captivating voyage from the expansive desert to the verdant cultural oasis. The Contemporary Art Museum will serve as the crowning jewel in AlUla's artistic realm, housing an exceptional collection by artists from the regions adjoining the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Currently engaged in the renewal of London's iconic Barbican Centre and the new London Museum, Khan brings his unique perspective to the Museum of the Incense Road, which will blend history, heritage, and future aspirations. Located in AlJadidah Village, his immersive creation promises to transport visitors on a journey through time. A symbol of AlUla’s history as a crossroads of trade, culture, and knowledge exchange, the Museum of the Incense Road will be the world's first museum dedicated to the ancient network of land and sea trading routes. Overlooking Dadan and Hegra, the museum will shed light on the global histories of exchange, ideas, and culture facilitated by the Incense Road, featuring ongoing excavations and carefully curated collections.