The newly constructed Maraya concert hall in AlUla in Saudi Arabia has been unveiled as part of the Winter at Tantora festival. ‘Maraya’, which in Arabic means reflection or mirror, is built close to Hegra Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO world heritage site.
The 500-seat capacity venue will be home to some of the world’s leading performers who range from Omar Khairat to Andrea Bocelli throughout the Winter at Tantora festival. The festival’s opening artist is legendary singer Aziza Jalal, who will be performing for community members and international visitors.
The landscapes of AlUla have inspired the worlds of architecture and art from the Nabataeans to today. Constructed by the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) Maraya has been designed as a mirror cladded box – encasing a venue with operatic sound quality – to become an architectural extension of the environment that surrounds it at its site in Ashar situated in the volcanic foothills of Harrat ‘Uwayrid.
Commenting on the delivery of this flagship project, RCU CEO Amr AlMadani, said: “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. 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 added: “As in the architecture of the Nabataeans, Maraya is created by subtraction and by sculpting the mass. It makes us reflect on the incomparable spectacle of the geological epic, the radical abstraction of the surroundings 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.”
The development of Maraya is part of the Royal Commission for AlUla’s vision, set out in its recently published Cultural Manifesto, which acts as an open invitation to the global arts and business community to join the RCU in building a new cultural chapter for AlUla. The Cultural Manifesto states that: “AlUla’s art mandate is bold. 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.”