Maraya, which means reflection or mirror in Arabic, is built close to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO world heritage site Al-Hijra.
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The 500-seat capacity venue is hosting global talent who are showcasing their skills during the cultural event. Last week, Arab music maestro Omar Khairat wowed the audience and more treats are in store throughout the festival.
It was built by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) to become an architectural extension of the environment that surrounds it at its site in Ashar, situated in the volcanic foothills of Harrat ‘Uwayrid.
“AlUla is a place of heritage for the world and this is our 21st century realization of our vision to create a cultural hub, with Maraya as a stunning centerpiece venue for world-class events, performances, celebrations and business gatherings,” RCU CEO Amr Al-Madani told Arab News.
“Maraya is a medium that intertwines nature, culture and humanity. We are proud to celebrate the opening and we thank the expert team of architects, construction specialists and partners who give rise to this incredible building from a stunning desert setting.”
Architect Florian Boje said Maraya made people reflect on the “incomparable spectacle” of the geological epic and the “unique incursions” of man in the landscape.
“The reflection becomes an immersive connector and balance, giving to us the burden and responsibility of our own image merged with the landscape,” he added.
Maraya is part of the RCU vision set out in its cultural manifesto, an open invitation to the global arts and business communities to join it in building a new chapter for AlUla.
“AlUla’s art mandate is bold,” says the manifesto. “It will continue to be a destination reflected, carved and inspired by artists, and a place for era-defining monumental works. Successive civilizations have infused the landscape with their material culture and ideas. AlUla will be considered an arts destination that continues to be built by artists, breathing imagination, inspiration, and expression into AlUla’s infrastructure, buildings, daily life and visitor experiences.”
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