Balloon ‘glow show’ puts AlUla’s name up in lights — and sets new world record

The Winter at Tantora festival reaches new heights after it entered the Guinness World Record for longest hot air balloon glow show at AlUla’s spectacular desert landscape. (Photo/Supplied)
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Updated 04 February 2020

Balloon ‘glow show’ puts AlUla’s name up in lights — and sets new world record

  • 100 balloons soared aloft across a 3 km stretch of AlUla’s spectacular desert landscape

ALULA: Balloonists from 19 countries staged a record-breaking hot air balloon “glow show” above the AlUla desert in an extraordinary night-time display.

The Guinness World Record for longest hot air balloon glow show was confirmed by an official adjudicator after 100 balloons soared aloft across a 3 km stretch of AlUla’s spectacular desert landscape.

The record-breaking flight, a highlight of the Winter at Tantora festival, was described as “a magical occasion” by Amr Al-Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla and president of the Saudi Arabian Balloon Federation.

Glow shows — in which balloonists create choreographed dancing lights set to music by using their burners to illuminate their hot air balloons — are a regular attraction at AlUla’s Winter at Tantora arts, music and culture festival, but this was the most ambitious ever staged.

“This was a tremendously complex task in planning and coordination,” Al-Madani said. “It was a night to remember and demonstrates once again the extraordinary opportunities that AlUla has to offer as a destination.”

It was a night to remember and demonstrates once again the extraordinary opportunities that AlUla has to offer as a destination.

Amr Al-Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla and president of the Saudi Arabian Balloon Federation.

The international balloonists were participating in Winter at Tantora’s Balloon Festival, and offered festival visitors a chance to glide over AlUla’s spectacular landscape and some of its 7,000 years of archaeological remains, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hegra, a 2,000-year-old Nabataean site with well-preserved tombs carved into sandstone cliffs.

Safety was paramount for the record-breaking attempt, with organizers and support teams monitoring wind conditions and the distance between balloons. The winter festival’s regular hot air balloon glow shows usually feature only 25 balloons.

Winter at Tantora runs until March 7, and features top-class entertainment, cultural, arts and sporting events, including concerts at the mirrored Maraya concert hall and the Fursan horse endurance race on Feb. 1. For details and booking information visit www.book.experiencealula.com.

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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3,500 workers help sanitize Grand Mosque in Makkah

Updated 04 April 2020

3,500 workers help sanitize Grand Mosque in Makkah

  • Workers for the department responsible for cleaning and carpets at the Grand Mosque have used 2,160 liters of eco-friendly sanitization solution

MAKKAH: An army of 3,500 workers has been taking part in a major cleaning operation at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has been overseeing the disinfection program as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Workers for the department responsible for cleaning and carpets at the Grand Mosque have used 2,160 liters of eco-friendly sanitization solution and 89 pieces of equipment for the six daily cleaning operations at the holy site, which have included its squares and facilities, and the cleaning of carpets every five days.