Jeddah's historic Hanafi Mosque set to open next year

SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman inaugurates the restoration project of Almia’mar Mosque in Jeddah. (SPA)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Jeddah's historic Hanafi Mosque set to open next year

  • Prince Sultan said the king has shown much interest in mosques, particularly historic ones in Al-Diriyah and Jeddah
  • The “National Program for the Care of Historic Mosques” has now been retitled “National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques”

The historic Hanafi Mosque, which is being renovated at the expense of King Salman, will open next year, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), has announced.

Prince Sultan said the king has shown much interest in mosques, particularly historic ones in Al-Diriyah and Jeddah, given that they represent the crossroads for people five times a day and bring people closer. 

The prince announced that the “National Program for the Care of Historic Mosques” has now been retitled “National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques,” noting that the term restoration has a broader meaning than care, for the goal is to rebuild mosques with prayer.

He revealed that Almia’mar Mosque is the third historic mosque that has been restored at the expense of King Abdul Aziz, after the historic Tabab Mosque, the first historic mosque built in the era of the Saudi state in Asir, and the historic Al-Shafei Mosque in Jeddah.

Prince Sultan said that more than 3,000 historic mosques were located and 200 are being restored throughout the Kingdom, 10 of them in Jeddah. 

He said a number of students of Islamic architecture and engineering had participated in the restoration works. 

SCTH is fully committed to create a new generation of citizens capable of restoring historical and archaeological sites, he added.

The restoration of mosques aims not only to rebuild the places but bring people back to these places as well, the prince said. Prince Sultan announced the launching of the implementation of four projects in mosques in Jeddah: The restoration and rehabilitation of Al-Hanafi Mosque at the expense of King Salman; the restoration of Uthman bin Affan Mosque at his own expense; the restoration of Al-Jilani Mosque at the expense of Anas Sairafi; and the restoration and rehabilitation of 13 historic mosques with a donation from the National Commercial Bank.

The prince revealed that the National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques throughout the Kingdom has located more than 1,140 historic mosques, restoring and rehabilitating 80, listing the priority target mosques (130 historic mosques) and signing 57 cooperation agreements with a number of bodies, charitable institutions and donors to restore and rehabilitate the target historic mosques.


Women ready for top jobs in SCTH, says Saudi Arabia’s first female tour guide

Saudi women are keen to shoulder responsibilities in high-profile jobs. AFP
Updated 9 min 14 sec ago
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Women ready for top jobs in SCTH, says Saudi Arabia’s first female tour guide

  • Saudi Arabia’s first female tour guide, Maryam Al-Harbi, who was named as the best tour guide for 2017 by SCTH
  • There was still a need to have more departments at Saudi universities where female students could study archaeology

JEDDAH: A prominent female tour guide has called on the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) to grant women leadership positions as they are now “qualified to shoulder high-profile jobs” within SCTH.
Saudi Arabia’s first female tour guide, Maryam Al-Harbi, who was named as the best tour guide for 2017 by SCTH, told Arab News that Saudi women are capable of being appointed to leadership positions.
Al-Harbi was one of two speakers at a workshop held on Thursday night.
The panel discussion was part of the Makkah Economic Forum 2018 activities. The other speaker was Maria Mahdaly, a Saudi entrepreneur.
“It is true that any successful work needs the full collaboration of both genders, but women in Saudi Arabia have shown great interest in learning and developing themselves in the field of archaeology,” said Al-Harbi, who recently obtained an MA degree from King Saud University’s college of tourism and archaeology.
Besides speaking Arabic and English, Al-Harbi also speaks Turkish and is working on improving her Chinese language skills.
She guides visitors to Madinah, including private delegations, school students and university groups, as well as Umrah and Hajj visitors, and helps delegations visiting the provinces of Al-Oula, Madain Saleh, Khaibar, and Badr.
Al-Harbi said that there was still a need to have more departments at Saudi universities where female students could study archaeology.
“We only have one college for archaeology studies at King Saud University. This department offers only MA and Ph.D. degrees,” she said.
She added that students in many universities had not found jobs in the tourism sector so they opted to join other sectors such as education.

Language skills
The workshop discussed the importance of languages for tour guides. Abeer Abu Suleiman, first Saudi woman tour guide and moderator of the gathering, said that a tour guide needed to be acquainted with as many languages as possible, but English was a must as it is so widely spoken.
The gathering discussed Saudi Arabia’s rich traditions and tourism sites and highlighted the country's competence to host hundreds of thousands of visitors. They gave the Hajj season as an example of the Kingdom's ability to host gatherings of people from different cultural backgrounds.