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The Wonder of Maraya, the World’s Largest Mirrored Building in Saudi Arabia

Maraya, the world's largest mirrored building, in Saudi Arabia, reflecting the desert surrounding it

To some, the idea of building a Guinness world record-breaking concert hall in the middle of the desert sounds unusual: aren’t most world-breaking buildings erected in cities, where they can be viewed and used daily by thousands or millions of people?

But in Saudi Arabia, that’s exactly what they did when they built Maraya, the world’s largest mirrored building. Maraya, from the Arabic work for mirror, is not only a concert hall meant to spotlight arts and culture. It is also a work of art in and of itself, designed to mirror the surrounding desert and showcase its uniqueness and wonder.

The Royal Commission for AlUla was created to develop projects such as Maraya, part of a push to grow Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry. The Commission and Maraya serve as a way to bring people to the country and to encourage exploration of its rich history and natural beauty.

Maraya is located in the northwestern province of AlUla, home to historical and natural wonders. One of these is Hegra, an ancient city that is Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Referred to today as Al-Hijr, it is the “largest conserved site of the civilization of the Nabataeans south of Petra in Jordan,” home to “well-preserved monumental tombs with decorated facades dating from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD.” Hegra is reflected back on itself by the mirrored facade of Maraya, and offers a new way for visitors to view and experience the site.

Inside, the building is just as stunning. Its 500-seat theater has already hosted renowned artists such as Omar Khairat, Andrea Bocelli, and Aziza Jalal, and hosts the annual Winter at Tantora festival. The backdrop of the stage looks out onto the landscape, and the building is also home to artwork and historical artifacts.


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