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Geology of AlUla:
A Rich, Diverse Landscape

Overview

From its verdant valley to its magnificent sandstone mountains, the AlUla region presents one of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in the world.

The breathtaking AlUla Valley, which lies in the north-west region of Saudi Arabia, is as diverse as it is beautiful.

Despite its arid climate, temperatures average 29 degrees celsius in July. AlUla’s valley oasis flourishes due to a massive drainage basin and underground watercourses. The valley, filled with lush date palms and fragrant citrus groves, is surrounded by the vast sandstone Hijaz Mountains.

What You Can’t Miss

Throughout the region, you’ll see sand-drifted canyons, red-rock cliff faces and unique outcrops and rock formations — all surrounded by seas of desert sand deposits. These imagination-spurring rock formations add to the wonder of AlUla, as some have naturally taken the forms of humans, animals and architectural structures.

AlUla’s most famous geomorphological wonder is probably Jabal AlFil, also known as Elephant Rock. Transformed by erosion, this monumental sandstone structure resembles an elephant whose trunk extends to the ground.

Located in Raggasat Valley, The Dancing Rocks, another natural wonder, is a maze of spiralling rock formations formed from years of erosion. These incredible sandstone structures have been sculpted by sand carried through the wind.

Other Special Places to See

To the region’s west, you’ll find fields of black basalt and towering mesas topped by black basalt known as “harrat,” which formed from volcanic lava — the most recent lava flow occurred less than 4,500 years ago.

Adding to the aesthetic and character of AlUla is the vast, quiet openness of the region. Its beauty is only heightened by the powerful desert sun. Throughout the day, sunlight amplifies the varying colours of the region. Mid-afternoon shade covers the valley oasis before fiery sunsets illuminate it, painting the pink evening sky. Then, this amazing panorama gives way to a blanket of stars at night — unfettered by light pollution — a truly mesmerizing spectacle.

This inimitable desert landscape forms the backdrop for AlUla’s intriguing history and culture. When AlUla reopens to visitors, come and explore its historic and natural wonder.

Tilt your eyes skyward
on a desert stargazing tour


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