Saudi heritage body applauds citizen who returned rare artifact

Ali Saad Al-Shahrani returns rare artifacts to an SCTH official in Bishah. (AN photo)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Saudi heritage body applauds citizen who returned rare artifact

  • Aman named Ali Saad Al-Shahrani handed the rare pieces over to the SCTH office in the governorate of Bishah in Asir province.
  • A spokesman of the SCTH urged others to follow the fine example of Al-Shahrani and support the National Antiquities Recovery Campaign.

RIYADH: Six rare artifacts — some dating back to pre-Islamic times — have been handed over to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) by a Saudi citizen.

Majed Alshadeed, SCTH spokesman, told Arab News on Sunday that a man named Ali Saad Al-Shahrani handed the rare pieces over to the SCTH office in the Governorate of Bishah in Asir region.

One of the objects is a stone piece which includes verses from the Holy Qur’an, written in the bas relief style.

He praised Al-Shahrani’s gesture of support for the National Antiquities Recovery Campaign and urged others to follow his example. 

However, he added that the gesture was not uncommon as people on many occasions have returned artifacts, showing keenness in supporting the commission in preserving the beautiful heritage and the antiquities of the Kingdom. Not only citizens, but expatriates too, have returned artifacts in the past, he added.

Notably, the SCTH honored the then Portugal Ambassador Manuel Carvalho last December for returning a finely crafted Saudi artifact of the Neolithic era to the commission.

Acknowledging the great gesture, Abdul Rahman Al-Jassas, the Executive Director of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Initiative, delivered a certificate of appreciation from SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman to the outgoing ambassador.

Praising the move Mohammed Al-Omrah, director general, SCTH branch for Asir region, thanked the citizen for supporting the national initiative, calling for those who have artifacts to hand them in to the SCTH or its branches in the various regions and governates.

Al-Omrah added that the National Antiquities Recovery Campaign was launched by SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman.

The SCTH runs a campaign fostering awareness of the importance of returning heritage artifacts and has honored citizens and foreigners who have returned archaeological objects to the commission.

The SCTH held an exhibition for the recovered antiquities and holds a register of the people who give back relics and artifacts. Some of them were honored during the opening ceremony of the first Saudi Archaeology Convention in Riyadh last year.


Food trucks serve in holy places for first time

Updated 13 min 49 sec ago
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Food trucks serve in holy places for first time

  • About 45 food trucks were given permit to roam the holy places to offer food, drinks and desserts to pilgrims
  • Only Saudi citizens are allowed to work in these food trucks

 

MINA: Food trucks run by Saudi men and women have begun for the first time to serve food and drinks in the holy places.

This was after Deputy Makkah Gov. Prince Abdullah bin Bandar directed the Secretariat of the Holy Capital to allow local entrepreneurs to provide their services inside the holy places during the current Hajj season.

Unlike the old fixed food stalls, about 45 food trucks have begun roaming the holy places to offer food, drinks and desserts to pilgrims. They also serve ice cream to help people cope with the heat, as well as different kinds of sandwiches.

The Secretariat of the Holy Capital confirmed that all food trucks in Arafat comply with health requirements, with every food truck manager carrying health certificates that allow them to carry out their activities.

The Secretariat highlighted that only Saudi citizens are allowed to work in these food trucks.

Afaf Abdul Aziz, one of the women serving hot drinks, said that she was pleased that the governor of Makkah had allowed women to work in the holy places.

She added: “The job is hard but truly fun. I wanted to prove that Saudi women can work in all occupations and contribute to serving pilgrims.”

She said that most of her customers were Saudis or from Arabian Gulf countries, most of whom worked in providing Hajj services.

“I have seen many Saudi women working in hospitals, health care centers, and Tawafa establishments, which makes me content,” she said.

Arif Obaid said that he worked in a food truck and served hot drinks, especially coffee, highlighting that many security men visited his truck for all kinds of coffee, especially Arabic coffee, which is in high demand. “Most of our goods go to charity work targeting pilgrims,” he said.

The Secretariat of the Holy Capital has announced accepting applications from Saudi men and women who wish to practice this activity in the holy places during the current Hajj season according to a set of standards and controls. 

The most important of these is ensuring the safety of nourishments served to pilgrims and that the applicant has a health certificate proving that she/he is free of contagious or infectious diseases.