Madinah heritage district: A story from the past

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Updated 28 March 2017
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Madinah heritage district: A story from the past

MADINAH: The heritage neighborhood project in Madinah’s King Fahd Park encompasses many old-fashioned businesses imitating the commercial environment of the city decades ago. The project, covering 120,000 square meters, aims to preserve the city’s urban and architectural heritage, under a directive by Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman.
The district imitates the city’s old residential and commercial areas. Old architectural-style buildings and restaurants selling Madinah’s traditional yagmoush, balila, manto, luqaimat and rice cooked in different styles surround an imitated Al-Oyayna market, which was the most famous market in Madinah for 300 years. As the market used to lead straight to the Prophet’s Mosque, it was demolished for the expansion of the mosque 30 years ago.
“A merchant who didn’t own a dukkan (shop) in Al-Oyayna market was considered a small businessman,” said Omar Barnawi, who showcased the profession of chair-banding — the occupation of adorning rope chairs — which no longer exists. “Demand for such chairs is now very weak because of developments in chair manufacturing, but some people still like to buy them. A set of these chairs costs about SR2,500 ($667).”
Blacksmith Mousa Hawsa, who makes antique lanterns, doors and windows, said he learned the profession from his father since childhood.
Carpenter Adam Hassan has been in the trade for 40 years. “I make doors, windows and Madinah-style balconies known as rawasheen in different sizes and styles,” he said. One rowshan takes two weeks to make, he said, adding that the spread of the use of aluminum and metals in manufacturing reduced demand for wood products. “Besides, new generations don’t like carpentry,” he said.


FaceOf: Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries

Ahmad Al-Khatib
Updated 27 May 2018
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FaceOf: Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries

  • Saudi Arabian Military Industries aims to aims to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign purchases of military products

JEDDAH: Ahmad Al-Khatib was appointed the chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) in October 2017. 

He also holds the posts of chairman of the board of directors of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) since 2016; chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Fund for Development; adviser to the general secretariat of the Cabinet; adviser to the minister of defense; and adviser to the court of the crown prince.

Al-Khatib inaugurated on Friday the new facilities of the Aircraft Accessories and Components Company (AACC) at its new headquarters at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah during a ceremony under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

SAMI aims to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign purchases of military products and become one of the top 25 global companies in the field of military industries.

“Our goal is to localize more than 50 percent of the Kingdom’s military spending by 2030,” said the crown prince in his earlier statement.

Al-Khatib is a former adviser to the royal court, was the minister of health between 2014 and 2016, and served as the chairman for the Saudi stock company established in 2006, Jadwa Investment.

Al-Khatib has 23 years of experience in banking. In 1992 he joined the Bank of Riyad, working in various departments for 11 years and helping to establish the customer investment department. 

In 2003, Al-Khatib joined SABB Bank and participated in the establishment of Islamic Banking (Amanah). He then became the bank’s general manager.