Traces in the sand
It is probably one of the most exciting countries that is currently opening up to visitors from all over the world for the first time: Saudi Arabia. Spectacular rock tombs that are in no way inferior to the famous tombs of Petra, monumental stone structures that are thousands of years older than the Egyptian pyramids, the largest still active fountain in the world. Closed to tourists for decades, only archaeologists knew and guessed the extent of the treasures hidden in the vast sand and lava regions of the country on the Red Sea. Recent excavation finds and historical sites shed new light on the history of mankind in many respects. As part of its "Vision 2030" program, which is rapidly driving social and economic reform in Saudi Arabia, these historic sites are now being opened to the public - and NOUS is part of this breathtaking development.
For currently three sites - the Oasis of AlUla, as well as Tayma and Khaybar in the middle of the country - we have been instrumental in designing and implementing the visitor experiences. The focus is on an immersive audio guide experience that take visitors back in time in podcast style and with an immersive sound design. They bring back to life the prehistoric flora and fauna in a landscape characterized at that time by an immense abundance of water, whisper legends about the last Babylonian king, tales of the wealth of the Incense Road and memories from local residents, who provide deep insights into a culture, which is mostly unknown to Western visitors.
The immersive audio tours are complemented by multimedia installations in the Welcome Centers as well as significant information and illustrations on the signs that guide the visitors on their discovery tours.
NOUS also broke new ground with this project. For the first time, we have demonstrated our expertise in storytelling in the development of a theatre play. And it looks like "Hegra after Dark" won't be the only trail we blaze in the Saudi sands…