Saudi Archaeology Forum calls for involving scholarship students in archaeological work

Participants share ideas at the first Saudi Antiquities Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday. (Photo by Ahmed Fathi)
Updated 10 November 2017
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Saudi Archaeology Forum calls for involving scholarship students in archaeological work

RIYADH: Saudi scholarship students at the first Saudi Archaeology Forum have said that involving them in archaeological work and enacting legislation to preserve the national heritage were key issues.
Cooperation between the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), the Ministry of Education and universities was the best way to achieve this, they said during a workshop on the second day of the forum.
Other recommendations from the workshop included a partnership between the SCTH, the Ministry of Education and universities to determine the needs of archaeology; sending scholarship students to study technical specialties such as painting, surveying and photography; and the formation of a higher committee to determine scientific needs in archaeology.
Khalid Fayez Al-Asmari, a Ph.D. student in Britain, called for finding ways to overcome the obstacles faced by scholarship students, notably language. He also called for “partnerships with foreign universities to develop programs of archaeology in the Kingdom and expand students’ perceptions and opportunities.”
Mesfir Hamad Al-Qahtani, a Master’s degree student in the US, said that language is also one of the main obstacles for archaeology scholarship students, as well as the lack of guidance for important disciplines.
Fahda Salman bin Afizan, a Ph.D. student in France, stressed that funding and language were among the most important obstacles she faced. “However, we are able to overcome these obstacles because of the importance of studying abroad and what it can add either through comprehensive preparation for study or qualification.”
She called for “the establishment of a higher education committee comprising the SCTH and specialized universities to organize the process of scholarship and identify the needs of the archaeological sector in the Kingdom.”
The workshop included experiences of Saudi students in the study of archaeology in scholarship countries; the development of scholarships programs for archaeology; and the development of relationships between Saudi universities, the scholarship agency and the SCTH to develop the path of research in archaeology.
Faisal Al-Fadhel, a member of the Shoura Council, called for all necessary protection for the Kingdom’s antiquities. He explained that this could be done through the identification of violations and penalties appropriate to these.
“The SCTH and judicial bodies will implement this according to competence, in addition to obligating the violator to repair the damage he causes, while ensuring his right to object to the decision or sentence issued against him,” Al-Fadhel said.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.