Our wanderlust isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, and neither are we. But virtual tours are our new respite, and a new 360° experience of the heritage site of Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia is so breathtaking we almost feel better about our vacation wardrobe going unseen and all our suitcases rusting in the closet. Almost.

The Saudi Royal Commission of AlUla has created six 360° videos of the ancient city’s most iconic landmark locations: the Dadan Kingdom, Jabal Ithlib, Jabal AlBanat, Jabal AlAhmar, Jabal Ikmah, and the Old Town. The videos combine actual footage with animated illustrations depicting what life might have looked like for the ancient Nabataeans that used to reside there.

The ancient city of Al-Ula in the northwest of the Kingdom was the capital of the Nabatean kingdoms of Dadan and Lahyan from at least around the 8th century BCE until the early 1st century BCE. At the crossroads of the long-distance incense trade, the city became one of the most prosperous in the region, as the caravan trade stopped at its oases and monumental tombs. 

The Kingdom's first designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the entire region of Al Ula has seen large-scale changes in the past few years since the Saudi government established the Royal Commission for AlUla in 2017, and is heralded for potentially ushering in a new era of tourism for Saudi Arabia.

You can experience the tours here.

Square main image: @parisverra on Instagram.