Claudia Cardinale stars as Tunisia opens City of Culture

Claudia Cardinale, the Tunis-born Italian movie star, was the guest of honor as Tunisia inaugurated a long-cherished City of Culture complex to showcase its cultural wealth. (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Claudia Cardinale stars as Tunisia opens City of Culture

TUNIS: Claudia Cardinale, the Tunis-born Italian movie star, was the guest of honor on Wednesday as Tunisia inaugurated a long-cherished City of Culture complex to showcase its cultural wealth.
The richly equipped complex, launched a decade ago but long stalled, incorporates a modern art museum, a 1,800-seat opera, two theaters, a cinema, library and studios to host festivals.
“It’s a source of pride for Tunisia,” Culture Minister Mohamed Zine el Abidine told reporters at the opening of what he called “the largest cultural complex in the Maghreb, the Arab world and Africa.”
The project was initially launched under president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown in a 2011 revolution.
Located in central Tunis, the nine-hectare (22-acre) Cite de la Culture with its iconic glass globe is estimated to have cost 130 million dinars (more than $49 million).
The project, held up by financial disputes, had been abandoned after the revolution but was revived in March 2016.
Cardinale, who was born in the Tunisian capital in 1938 of Sicilian parents, was to take part in a formal opening ceremony later Wednesday along with President Beji Caid Essebsi.
The newly formed orchestra of the Tunis Opera was to play music from Carmen’s Bizet sung by three Tunisian artists, accompanied by a choir and orchestra from Ukraine.


Traveling back thousands of years by reviving KSA's Al-Ula

Archaeological treasures in the northwestern region of the Kingdom are older than Saudi Arabia itself, and barely known to the world. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Traveling back thousands of years by reviving KSA's Al-Ula

  • The RCU is joining forces with the Arab World Institute in Paris to produce a touring exhibition

JEDDAH: Bathing in the scorching sun of Saudi Arabia for the past 4,000 years and sitting among the sandy dunes of the northwestern region of the Kingdom, lie the country’s archaeological treasures. These treasures are even older than Saudi Arabia itself, and barely known to the world.
The area covers about 52 hectares of well-preserved land in which there are tombs handcrafted out of the rocks, relics from ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans, archaeological riches dating back 4,000 years and other priceless artifacts from the Ottoman Empire.
The somewhat forgotten land is going to be brought into the spotlight by the year 2020 as a historic collaboration takes place between Saudi Arabia and France.
France excels in the art of preserving history so it is the perfect alliance to meet the goals of making Al-Ula a tourist attraction.
Saudis are cooperating with France in preserving and promoting culture and archaeology.
The French consider this project so prestigious that Gerard Mestrallet, a special envoy of the president, has been appointed for Al-Ula. Both countries share a common approach to national heritage; that culture transcends all borders and should be accessible to all who seek to observe history.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron as well as Al-Ula governor, the special envoy to Al-Ula and France’s foreign minister. Against the walls of Paris’s Musee De Arts Decoratifs — a wing of the Louvre Palace — sit the illuminated sandstones for the French to experience a sliver of Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage. The Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU) has signed an agreement with Campus France, described as the leading international academic and vocational public institution in France, to train young Saudi women and men to become aspiring archaeologists.
The RCU is joining forces with the Arab World Institute in Paris to produce a touring exhibition. Public transport, hotels and restaurants are also part of the plan.
More than 2,100 people applied for traineeships: 200 young Saudi men and women will be trained by the most prestigious institutes in the world; part of the 1.2 million new tourist jobs are expected to be created under Vision 2030.
Cutting-edge technologies and methods such as aerial LiDAR (light detection and ranging), scanning and photos taken from light aircraft, helicopter and drones will also be used.