Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday (February 10) launched mega tourism projects in Al Ula region of the kingdom, including a resort designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel and a nature reserve, both called Sharaan.
The first-of-its-kind sustainable resort project is part of the kingdom's mega plan to transform the home of ancient civilizations into a destination for visitors from around the world, reported Arab News.
Prince Mohammed laid the foundation stone last night to announce the official inauguration of the ancient city as a world destination, it added.
The resort, to be located in a valley deep inside the 925-sq-km Sharaan Nature Reserve, will boast several key amenities include residential estates, a summit centre, a spa and restaurants, said the report.
Nouvel, who designed Louvre Abu Dhabi, will be in charge of the upcoming resort in the mountains of Al Ula, it stated.
The full design work will be completed by the year-end and the construction will start early 2020 with a completion date of 2023, it added.
Both take their names Sharaan from the surrounding canyon with its ancient rock formations. The reserve will conserve and restore the region’s natural desert habitats, including the Arabian leopard, with the help of local rangers trained by international experts, said the Arab News report.
Al Ula is home to spectacular sandstone rock formations and the archaeological site of Madain Saleh, the largest Nabatean settlement south of Petra that contains the ancient civilization’s rock tombs with their carved facades, it stated.
In 2008, it was designated as Saudi Arabia’s first Unesco World Heritage site, it added.