The Royal Commission of AlUla (RCU) has joined the Metaverse for the first time with a true-to-scale, fully immersive 3D model of the Tomb of Lihyan, son of Kuza of Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Created in the digital landscape, Decentraland, the AlUla monument will be accessible to virtual tourists who can explore it from anywhere in the world. It became the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Metaverse.
Metaverse users can access parts of the site that real visitors cannot.
Virtual visitors can walk through tomb doorways presented in realistic dimensions. Central to AlUla’s online exploration, “tourists” in Decentraland can immerse themselves in Hegra’s history by entering the tombs and activating information points to uncover their stories.
They can take a 360-degree tour of Hegra’s most famous tombs, a realistic representation of AlUla’s desert landscape.
Hegra’s digital avatars also host a calendar of virtual events to captivate Metaverse visitors.
UNESCO designated Hegra as Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage Site in 2008. Located 20 km north of AlUla town, it covers a total of 52 hectares and contains 110 tombs among several rock formations. 22 meters high.
Called the “Lonely Castle” in English because of its distance from other monuments, it is the largest ruin of the ancient Nabataean civilization south of Petra, Jordan. Global creative consultancy frog, part of the Capgemini Group, has been appointed to facilitate Hegra’s metaverse debut.
“RCU’s entry into the Metaverse is a landmark development in innovation and virtual reality tourism that connects the whole world with the wonders of AlUla.A new frontier of innovation and collaboration, our debut marks the first UNESCO World See Heritage Sites enter the Metaverse, representing an exciting evolution of AlUla’s unique heritage, and serving as a login and invitation to travelers, scholars and digital explorers to date. We have seen AlUla like never before,” said RCU Chief Executive Officer Amr Almadani.
Last November, RCU signed two strategic partnerships to accelerate the regeneration of the region. The agreement with AECOM and an international French consortium consisting of Egis, Assystem and Setec sets a comprehensive development timeline based on three phases to 2035. The Phase 1 development has invested more than US$15 billion in a 20km historic area at the core of AlUla. It incorporates social, economic and sustainability projects in five unique hubs focused on infrastructure, hospitality, arts and culture, and community development.
The RCU projects that AlUla’s population will more than triple to 130,000 by 2035, creating 38,000 new jobs and contributing $32 billion to Saudi Arabia’s GDP.