Saudi tourism authority retrieves more than 53,000 relics

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has undertaken registration of more than 53,000 historical artifacts and relics. (SPA)
Updated 14 August 2018
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Saudi tourism authority retrieves more than 53,000 relics

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has undertaken registration of more than 53,000 historical artifacts and relics that it successfully managed to restore from inside and outside the Kingdom as part of the National Project for Digital Recording of Antiquities.
The project follows international standards for archaeological recording and archiving. It aims to document and store all historic sites, artifacts, historical monument and urban heritage buildings in a comprehensive national digital registry linked to a multidimensional digital map, which is compatible with modern GIS technologies and digital databases, maps, images and graphics.
Director-General of Archiving and Protecting Antiquities at the SCTH, Naif Al-Qannour, said: “The new digital recording project stores detailed information and reports about 32,000 artefacts retrieved from outside the Kingdom and 20,000 returned by citizens to the SCTH since Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of SCTH, launched the campaign to retrieve national artefacts in 2011.
“Some artifacts found their way outside Saudi Arabia through foreign travelers who moved them to other countries. One of the most famous artifacts is the Tayma Stone, which was discovered by Charles Huber and later displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris.”
Al-Qannour also explained that many employees of foreign companies, especially in the oil industry, visited many parts of Saudi Arabia to study their geology and natural manifestations, collected the artifacts they found and took them to national museums in their home countries.
“Robbers of archaeological sites sometimes dig for archaeological treasures and achieve fast financial gains,” Al-Qannour said. “By doing so, they are destroying important archaeological evidence found in these sites, be it on land or in the sea.”
Al-Qannour said the SCTH will continue to work on retrieving and protecting artifacts and has released a red list of artifacts stolen from their sites inside Saudi Arabia and information about them to make them easier to identify. The SCTH has also announced handing financial rewards to those who return artifacts or report their loss or theft.
In 2011, Prince Sultan launched a campaign for retrieving national artifacts, including media and cultural programs and initiatives that aim to enlighten and inform citizens about the value of artifacts and the importance of returning them to the SCTH.
Recently, the commission released a list of 140 names of citizens and 18 Americans who returned artifacts, reported archaeological sites or cooperated with the SCTH in protecting the country’s cultural heritage between 2013 and 2017. This was to honor them during the First Antiquities Forum, which will be launched under the patronage of King Salman on Nov. 7 at the National Museum in Riyadh.


Massive Saudi response overwhelms German musicians

German artists perform at Goethe-Institut in Riyadh on Tuesday night. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Massive Saudi response overwhelms German musicians

  • German Ambassador Jorg Ranau hosted a concert at his residence in the diplomatic quarter

RIYADH: German musicians on tour in Saudi Arabia said they were “astonished” by the response to their concerts.
The artists played six gigs over 10 days at multiple venues.
On Tuesday evening in Riyadh the Goethe-Institut hosted Birgit Erichson and Vasil Laghidze, who performed Schubert’s “Winter Journey.”
The lyrics, by Wilhelm Müller, were recited in German by Claudia Ziegeler and — in a world premiere — in Arabic by the Saudi poet Dr. Adel Khamees Alzhrani.
“We are astonished at how the audience in Riyadh and Jeddah responded,” said pianist Laghidze. “We got overwhelming support from music lovers. The audience here is very enthusiastic.”
On Monday German Ambassador Jorg Ranau hosted a concert at his residence in the diplomatic quarter.
Laghidze and cellist Erichson were joined by violinist Ulrich Beetz, with the trio delighting a national and international gathering with music from Haydn, Schubert and Dvorak.
An embassy press officer told Arab News the musicians were well-received amid “thunderous applause.”
The French Consul General El-Mostafa Mihraje hosted the trio’s performance of an all-Debussy concert, including the famous Clair de Lune, played under the stars.
Other venues for the visiting artists included the German diplomatic missions in Riyadh and Jeddah, the French Consulate General in Jeddah and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a research institute in Thuwal.