Royal Commission for AlUla protects cultural heritage and community

The Royal Commission for AlUla has launched a new heritage conservation campaign titled ‘I Care.’

It aims to protect and promote the rich cultural heritage, diversity, and history of AlUla’s ancient history.

The campaign highlights the importance of RCU’s diverse and ongoing heritage protection projects in AlUla as it continues to develop into the world’s largest museum.

It will promote the need to safeguard AlUla’s diverse landscape of cultural assets, including natural and manmade monuments to boost economic development, drive community engagement, and expand people’s knowledge and appreciation of AlUla’s past – goals that align with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030.

RCU has partnered with US artist David Popa to create a unique landmark piece set within the landscape of AlUla.

The artwork takes the shape of two protective hands and is constructed around the iconic Tomb of Lihyan, a monumental heritage destination which was designated as Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Known for his sustainable approach and innovative techniques, Popa’s artwork is symbolic of I Care’s ambition to carefully protect places of historic and cultural value – sites that resonate with the community and global heritage experts.

Dr Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani, Executive Director of Archaeology, Conservation and Collections at RCU, said: “The roots of Saudi culture and tradition can be traced back millennia, influenced by civilisations as diverse as the Nabataeans, Minaeans and Lihyanites. The I Care campaign is an important and inclusive step towards increasing the AlUla community’s awareness and appreciation of the incredible history that exists on their doorstep.

“The Kingdom has made great strides to conserve and develop its cultural heritage and rich collection of assets, including AlUla with its 200,000 years of human history.

“As guardians of this unique crossroads for civilisations, RCU is focused on raising people’s awareness of the need to engage with conservation efforts through the new I Care campaign. This will help to deepen RCU’s connection with our community as we work towards a common, shared, and inclusive purpose – to protect and celebrate our heritage so it can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

US artist David Popa said: “Working on this project has been an immense privilege.I Care is not just a campaign; it is a celebration of AlUla’s and the Kingdom’s legacy and traditions.

“AlUla’s heritage is a treasure for the entire world, and I have been enriched by the enlightening conversations I have had with the local storytellers, the Rawis, the Heritage Rangers, and the young ambassadors being trained in the Hammayah programme to take on guardianship of this invaluable heritage.”

A key audience of the campaign is AlUla’s younger generation. RCU will provide schools with toolkits to educate and empower youth and their teachers through a series of workshops that focus on the importance of heritage protection and how landmarks connect with the community stories, life, and traditions.

It will also host school visits and community activities at AlUla’s diverse collection of historic landmarks.

The community has a key role to play in helping to conserve AlUla’s cultural landscape, with the campaign seeking to fill any knowledge gaps and promote future discovery amongst residents, visiting tourists, and Saudi citizens.