A list of the Seven Wonders of the World for 2023 has included the heritage city of AlUla in northern Saudi Arabia.
Award-winning travel writer Aaron Millar compiled the list.
AlUla has a remarkable past and a rich cultural heritage. However, until recently, very few individuals outside of Arabia were aware of the location or had visited the area.
According to Millar, a 200,000-year-old piece of Arabian history will be revealed when the site is officially opened to visitors by the end of 2022.
AlUla is in the center of the northwestern desert of Saudi Arabia, much of which has not been explored. Less than 5% of the site is thought to have been excavated. The elaborate monumental tombs carved into stark red sandstone cliffs that make up the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hegra (Al-Hijr) are well-known.
AlUla Old Town is a maze of once-occupied mud-brick houses painted in the earthy tones of the desert. There is ancient rock art and restaurants run by well-known chefs, such as Maraya, which is on top of the world’s largest mirrored building and was opened by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton.
Only the Great Pyramids of Giza, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, are still standing. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Temple of Artemis, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus are all now merely relics in the minds of visitors. Therefore, Millar decided to select “the most awe-inspiring places on the planet for star-gazing, wildlife spotting, and astonishing panoramas” for each year’s list of seven new world wonders.
In addition to AlUla, Mont Saint-Michel, France, is one of Millar’s Seven Wonders of the World for 2023. Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier; Bhutan’s Tiger’s Nest Monastery; Turkey’s Cappadocia; Great Britain’s Lake District; and South Africa’s The Sardine Run. — SG