AlUla, Wonder of Arabia

TYPEexhibition
LOCATIONthe Palace Museum in the Forbidden City (Beijing)
DATES5 January - 22 March 2024
CURATORsLaïla Nehmé, Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani
FORAFALULA
ORGANIZERsRCU, AFALULA, the Palace Museum

Following its celebrated debut in Paris in 2019, the “AlUla, Wonder of Arabia” exhibition is set to captivate the Chinese public in Beijing for the first time, showcasing 234 rare artefacts and cultural relics from Saudi oasis. In addition to the Chinese debut of the rarely excavated artefacts, visitors will encounter unique sculptures, pottery, inscriptions, and more.

Coordinated in China by Doors, the exhibition is a collaboration between the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), the Palace Museum and the French Agency for AlUla Development (AfalUla).

View of the exhibition "AlUla, Wonder of Arabia", Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing, 2024. Photo courtesy of AfalUla.

Opening its doors at the Palace Museum in Beijing’s Forbidden City, the UNESCO World heritage Site located in the centre of Beijing, this extraordinary, multilayered showcase will take visitors on an epic journey through the undiscovered history and legacy of AlUla, unveiling recently excavated archaeological artefacts that have been rarely displayed to the public.

Located at the West Wing of the Meridian Gate at the Palace Museum, the exhibition is a collaboration between the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) and the French Agency for AlUla Development (AFALULA). Curated by archaeologists Dr. Laïla Nehmé and Dr. Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani, Executive Director of Archaeology, Conservation and Collections at RCU, the exhibition promises a journey like no other through AlUla’s 7,000 years of successive civilisations and human history.

In addition to the Chinese debut of the rarely excavated artefacts, visitors will encounter rare sculptures, pottery, inscriptions, bronze artefacts, ancient animal bones. Through the expertly curated, chronological layout of the exhibition, visitors can seamlessly explore of the geographical intricacies and environmental settings that facilitated the earliest human settlements.

“AlUla, Wonder of Arabia,” invites audiences to embark on a journey through history, with stops at the four main sites in AlUla: Dadan, Hegra, Qurh, and AlUla Old Town. Each site unveils unique aspects of AlUla’s rich history, featuring highlights such as the exquisitely crafted sculptures of Dadan, once home to the Dadanite and Lihyanite kingdoms, and immersive movies showcasing the stone-carved tombs in Hegra – the principal southern city of the Nabataean Kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, in addition to bronze artefacts discovered within the site.

The immersive multimedia works are created by acclaimed photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. The scenography of the exhibition is assured by Agence NC, created by renowned French scenography designer Nathalie Crinière.

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View of the Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing.

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View of the exhibition "AlUla, Wonder of Arabia", Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing, 2024. Photo courtesy of AfalUla.

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View of the exhibition "AlUla, Wonder of Arabia", Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing, 2024. Photo courtesy of AfalUla.

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View of the exhibition "AlUla, Wonder of Arabia", Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing, 2024. Photo courtesy of AfalUla.

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View of the exhibition "AlUla, Wonder of Arabia", Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing, 2024. Photo courtesy of AfalUla.

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View of the exhibition "AlUla, Wonder of Arabia", Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing, 2024. Photo courtesy of AfalUla.

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View of the exhibition "AlUla, Wonder of Arabia", Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing, 2024. Photo courtesy of AfalUla.

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View of the exhibition "AlUla, Wonder of Arabia", Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing, 2024. Photo courtesy of AfalUla.

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View of the exhibition "AlUla, Wonder of Arabia", Palace Museum, the Forbidden City, Beijing, 2024. Photo courtesy of AfalUla.

About AFALULA (French Agency for AlUla Development)

Born as a result of an intergovernmental agreement signed by France and Saudi Arabia in April 2018, the French Agency for AlUla Development (AFALULA) was founded in Paris in July 2018. In the spirit of collaborative development, AFALULA’s objective is to support its Saudi partner, the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), in the sustainable economic, tourism, and cultural development of AlUla, a region with an exceptional natural and cultural heritage located in the north-west of Saudi Arabia. The Agency’s mission is to mobilize all of France’s expertise and know-how and to bring together the best operators and companies in the fields of archaeology, museography, architecture, urban planning, tourism, hotel management, infrastructure, education, security, agriculture, botany, and sustainable natural resource management.

About RCU (Royal Commission for AlUla)

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by royal decree in July 2017 to preserve and develop AlUla, a region of outstanding natural and cultural significance in north-west Saudi Arabia. RCU’s long-term plan outlines a responsible, sustainable, and sensitive approach to urban and economic development that preserves the area’s natural and historic heritage while establishing AlUla as a desirable location to live, work, and visit. This encompasses a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education, and the arts, reflecting a commitment to meeting the economic diversification, local community empowerment, and heritage preservation priorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme.

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