20 February 2023 Business News


Enjoy a bird's eye view of Hegras's tomb of Lihyan with a virtual hot air balloon experience


The first UNESCO World Heritage site to enter the metaverse, the virtual recreation of the Tomb of Lihyan allows visitors to step through the imposing doorway – inaccessible in the real world – to experience Hegra’s history in vivid detail.

Now, in cooperation with the Saudi Arabian Hot Air Ballooning Federation and to celebrate the AlUla Hot Air Balloon Festival, visitors can enjoy an interactive hot air balloon experience which offers hyper-realistic and 360-degree views of the area’s most famous landmark.

Created in the vast landscape of Decentraland, in partnership with global creative agency frog, the virtual Hegra offers expanded accessibility to digital tourists, who can explore its unique features from anywhere in the world.

Hegra in the Metaverse marks a major first step in the Royal Commission for AlUla’s (RCU) journey of innovation and will play host to an eclectic calendar of events created to digitally introduce the world to the wonders of AlUla.

UNESCO designated Hegra as Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage Site in 2008. Located 20km north of AlUla town, the site covers 52 hectares and features 110 tombs, with the Tomb of Lihyan, Son of Kuza the largest tomb at 22 metres tall. Referred to as the ‘lonely castle’ because of its distance from other monuments, it is the largest preserved site of the ancient Nabataeans.


The following is available for live and pre-recorded down the line or studio interviews:

Ahmed H Daoud, Acting Executive Director of Innovation, Royal Commission

Additional Information:

Visitors to the metaverse can explore Hegra here: https://play.decentraland.org/?position=-121%2C-149&realm=marvel&island=Ickzn

Notes for editors: It is always AlUla / not Al-Ula

About the 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.

B-roll and other materials including images will also be made available on Red Robots MediaGRAB: https://mediagrab.press/presskit/Royal%20Commission%20for%20AlUla


1, GV’s of Royal Commission For AlUla entering the metaverse launch

2. GV’s of the hot air balloon experience of AlUla metaverse

3. GV’s of the Innovative digital recreation of Hegra Tomb of Lihyan

4. GV’s of the Hegra in AlUla, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site

5. GV’s of AlUla’s heritage, rich tradition and knowledge in the 21st Century

6. Soundbites: Ahmed H Daoud - Acting Executive Director of Innovation at RCU

20 February 2023