Archaeologists to share live experience of exploration at first Saudi antiquities forum

Updated 29 October 2017
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Archaeologists to share live experience of exploration at first Saudi antiquities forum

RIYADH: Archaeologists from around the world will share the live experience of archaeological exploration at the first Saudi Archaeology Forum, to be held under the patronage of King Salman at the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center in Riyadh from November 7 to 9.

The forum is being organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) as a part of the efforts of the Program for Caring for Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage in collaboration with the King Abdul Aziz Research Center (Darah), the ministries of municipal and rural affairs, culture and information, and the Education, wherein a number of concerned government agencies will also cooperate to make it a success.

“Visitors to the first Saudi Archaeology Forum will have the opportunity to join a number of local and international archaeologists in a live experience of archaeological excavation dedicated to this event at the venue,” the media department of the SCTH said Thursday.

The forum is aimed at introducing the public to archaeological excavation and discovery, methods of identifying archaeological objects, the tools used in the excavation process, and the precise methods carried out by archaeologists in remote desert areas of the Kingdom.

According to the commission, work is underway to design a site that simulates the selected sites of archaeological excavations in the Kingdom, and detail the discovered relics.

The forum will feature a scientific conference during which a number of working papers covering different historic periods, from prehistory until the end of the fourteenth century of Hijri calendar will be presented. However, it is not just a scientific conference and most of its events are oriented to the public, where the forum will have exhibitions and events to highlight the archaeology of the Kingdom and introduce citizens to the antiquities.

The forum will be attended by about 30 Saudi-international archaeological teams that are currently conducting archaeological excavations across the Kingdom, said the SCTH.

Moreover, 10 exhibitions specialized in archaeology will accompany the forum, as well as a number of projects and initiatives related to archaeology in the Kingdom will be inaugurated.

The maiden conference will cover the pre-historic antiquities, rock arts, Hajj and trade routes, the Arabian Peninsula’s pre-Islamic antiquities, antiquities of the Islamic ages, arts and architecture, sunken antiquities, ancient and Islamic writings, and heritage sites.


Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 15, 2018, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Saudi Commission for Tourism completes training for Hajj guides

  • A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030
  • We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions

MAKKH: In a breakthrough initiative for Tawafa institutions, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has completed the training of 135 male and female Tawafa guides — religious guides for Hajj pilgrims — who have obtained tour guide licenses.
The training is the first step in a program that will enable national Tawafa establishments to obtain tour guide licenses. The ceremony for the first of the tour guides to graduate from the training course took place in Makkah on Tuesday, at the National Tawafa Establishment for Pilgrims of Arab Countries (ARBHAJ).
SCTH Director-General Dr. Hisham bin Mohammed Madani said the commission has honored more than 135 male and female “Mutawwifs,” or guides, from ARBHAJ under the partnership between the SCTH and the ARBHAJ to train Tawafa guides to obtain tour guide licenses.
Madani said this is the first phase of an initiative to train guides at all Tawafa establishments, introducing pilgrims to a new concept by helping them visit all historical and archaeological sites and museums in Makkah after performing Hajj rituals.
“Tour guides are more and more dynamic and effective in the tourism industry, and have become an important and effective source of historical information,” he said and added that the tour guide now also functions as an ambassador for the authentic culture of the Kingdom, reflecting its cultural, natural and historical heritage.
Licensing Tawaf guides as tour guides, Madani said, will enrich the tourist experience in the holy capital.
The SCTH chief noted that the city is rich with myriad cultural treasures that need someone to showcase them for tourists.
“We at SCTH presented our experience in qualifying accredited tour guides and we look forward to improving tourism outputs to match the reality and requirements of the new phase,” he said. “In order to reach this goal, we are collaborating with all partners to reach satisfactory results to deal with all nationalities, tongues and cultural backgrounds from all parts of the world with satisfaction, love and positivity.”
“We must look at tourism as an industry through which we present our vision, our goals and our ambitions. Makkah is the holy city that every Muslim looks forward to visiting after hearing about its great heritage. Our role is to provide knowledge and keep abreast of the tourist vision by qualifying and training tour guides, equipping them with the necessary skills and qualifications and honing their skills through required training programs. To this end, all partners must join their efforts and collaborate together to reach the desired goals.”

Initiative
Dr. Abdul Fattah bin Suleiman Mashat, deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said that the ministry is implementing an initiative to provide a professional license for everyone working at Hajj, not just in Tawaf.
He said: “A license takes any traditional work to a professional level, and hosting pilgrims must be included in this initiative, as part of Vision 2030, to focus on enriching the pilgrims’ experience, and not only on increasing their numbers.”
Mashat said it was important for pilgrims’ journeys to be coupled with trips to historical and archaeological sites. “We rely on male and female Tawaf guides to organize well-thought-out trips for the pilgrims so that they can enjoy all the historical and archaeological sites and landmarks in Makkah,” he added.