Saudi Arabia retrieves 52,000 historical artefacts since 2011

SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman launched a campaign for retrieving national artefacts, including media and cultural programs to inform citizens about the importance of returning them to the SCTH. (SPA)
Updated 22 October 2017

Saudi Arabia retrieves 52,000 historical artefacts since 2011

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) announced that it has successfully retrieved more than 52,000 artefacts from inside and outside the country as part of the National Project for Digital Recording of Antiquities, which follows international standards for archaeological recording and archiving.
The project aims to document and store all historic sites, artefacts, historical monument and urban heritage buildings in a comprehensive national digital registry linked to a multi-dimensional digital map, which is compatible with modern GIS technologies and digital databases, maps, images and graphics.
Director-General of Archiving and Protecting Antiquities at the SCTH, Naif Al-Qannour, said: “The new digital recording project stores detailed information and reports about 32,000 artefacts retrieved from outside the Kingdom and 20,000 returned by citizens to the SCTH since Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of SCTH, launched the campaign to retrieve national artefacts in 2011.”
“Some artefacts found their way outside Saudi Arabia through foreign travelers who moved them to other countries.” Al-Qannour continued, “One of the most famous artefacts is the Tayma Stone, which was discovered by Charles Huber and later on displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris.”
He also explained that many employees of foreign companies, especially those who work in the oil industry, visited many parts of Saudi Arabia to study their geology and natural manifestations, collected the artefacts they found and took them to national museums at their home countries.
“Robbers of archaeological sites sometimes dig for archaeological treasures and achieve fast financial gains,” Al-Qannour said, “By doing so, they are destroying important archaeological evidence found in these sites, be it on land or in the sea.”
Al-Qannour stated that the SCTH will continue to work on retrieving and protecting artefacts and has released a red list of artefacts stolen from their sites inside Saudi Arabia and information about them in order to make them easier to identify. The SCTH has also announced handing financial rewards to those who return artefacts or report their loss or theft.
In 2011, Prince Sultan launched a campaign for retrieving national artefacts, including media and cultural programs and initiatives that aim to enlighten and inform citizens about the value of artefacts and the importance of returning them to the SCTH.
Recently, the SCTH released a list of 140 names of citizens who returned artefacts, reported archaeological sites or cooperated with the SCTH in protecting the country’s cultural heritage between 2013 and 2017 in order to honor them during the First Antiquities Forum, which will be launched under the patronage of King Salman, on Nov. 7 at the National Museum in Riyadh.

Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

Updated 38 min 44 sec ago

Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

  • Umrah trip held as part of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative 

JEDDAH: Several Muslims with special needs have benefited from a special Umrah pilgrimage organized by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to statement from the ministry, the Umrah trip, was held on the 17th of Ramadan  (May 22) under the “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative in partnership with Sawt Alasm association in Jeddah.

A busload of 20 people with special needs were accompanied by 12 volunteers of Sadiq Almutamir, including sign language interpreters for the deaf pilgrims. 

The first stop was at Kuday area in Makkah, where pilgrims received the special gifts of Sadiq Almutamir, supported by the Establishment of Motawifs of South East Asian Pilgrims. Next was their arrival at the Grand Mosque, wherein the pilgrims performed Umrah, enjoyed Iftar meals, and received souvenirs from Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association. 

Volunteers assisted the pilgrims by communicating with them, providing instructions and directions in addition to sharing their feelings with the support of the sign language interpreters. 

Sadiq Almutamir also accompanied pilgrims during the performance of Umrah, providing wheelchairs for the elderly, sharing breakfast, and learning about their impressions of performing Umrah for their first time. 

Sadiq Almutamir is one of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s initiatives in Makkah’s Cultural Forum. It focuses on promoting the culture of giving and cooperation between the Saudi youth as well as elevating the volunteering services provided to Umrah pilgrims in order to enrich their experiences. It also provides optional tours to visit attractions, monuments, and places contribute to enriching experiences of Mutamirs and immortalizing beautiful memories in the Kingdom.

Launched late last year, the initiative aims to develop the spirit of volunteerism among Muslims and to invest in the youth by engaging young men and women in service and social responsibility.

“It focuses as well on improving the efficiency level of services provided to pilgrims, promoting the culture of volunteering, helping elderly and special needs’ people to perform Umrah rituals, and finally contributing to the realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 of reaching 1 million volunteers annually,” ministry statement said.

The trip was held in cooperation with the Western Fleet Transport, in coordination with the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for pilgrims’ transportation affairs and Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association.