New initiatives for local community to develop KSA's Al-Ula heritage site

Al-Ula region, roughly the size of Belgium, is home to a number of archaeological treasures and ancient cities — some dating back 4,000 years — and is Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site. (SPA)
Updated 24 August 2018
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New initiatives for local community to develop KSA's Al-Ula heritage site

  • Al-Ula is home to a number of archaeological treasures and ancient cities — some dating back 4,000 years
  • It is Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site

JEDDAH: Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture and governor of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, launched on Wednesday a program of initiatives that will put the local community at the heart of the preservation and development of the region.
The five initiatives came after the prince met with members of the Al-Ula community as part of his vision for developing the region with its inhabitants in mind.
During his visit to the province of Al-Ula, Prince Badr confirmed that everyone in the region is an ambassador of originality, hospitality, heritage and beautiful nature.
He added that everyone will benefit from the outcome of these initiatives, noting that the region will witness more sustainability and prosperity.
The new initiatives include a scholarship program for local students, the creation of a community council, a community heritage action program which will provide 2,500 part-time opportunities, expansion of connectivity and telecommunication in the region and the establishment of a disability rehabilitation and support center.

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Prince Badr explained that the scholarship program provides promising opportunities to Al-Ula boys and girls in international elite academic institutions in the US, UK, France and other countries. The students chosen in January 2018 will move by the end of this month to start their scholarship programs abroad.
In the second phase of the program, the commission will provide 300 additional opportunities to double the number of scholarships that will qualify more students to get diplomas, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields such as tourism, hospitality, agricultural technology, archaeology, history.
Community leaders will be given the opportunity to present their views, submit proposals and solutions on issues related to the development of local infrastructure, protecting the cultural and natural heritage while providing 2,500 part-time jobs for citizens.
The commission will also provide a communication network program that is essential for sustainable development and growth, as well as addressing network issues.
It is also working with a group of partners to enhance the region’s telecommunications network, expand existing coverage and prepare a comprehensive rehabilitation center program to provide support to the Al-Ula community.
Prince Badr met a number of residents in Al-Ula and briefed them on the steps taken to achieve the highest added value to the community during all future stages of development.
He announced the formation of a senate that includes local community leaders, to participate in the region’s infrastructure development for the benefit of everyone.


The ‘hanging villages’ atop Assiri mountains bare marks of early civilization

Updated 12 November 2018
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The ‘hanging villages’ atop Assiri mountains bare marks of early civilization

  • The region opens a new window for visitors seeking tourism in this area, given its attractive nature, between high mountain lands, covered in Juniper trees

JEDDAH: In the northern region of Assir, 180km away from its capital Abha, the dark mountains overlooking the Wadi Khat did not pose a challenge for ancient human civilization that had settled, during a period in time, on its highest tops.
These civilizations created villages on the top of mountains that were full of life.
The Saudi Press Agency, during a tour of the region, has reached these villages after it launched a trip from Abha toward the touristic coastal route linking the city and Taif, crossing to the destination via “Tela” between the highlands of Sarra and Tihama.
The region opens a new window for visitors seeking tourism in this area, given its attractive nature, between high mountain lands, covered in Juniper trees, steep slopes and various agricultural terraces.
Amid the crossing, foggy weather, and nearly touching the clouds atop these mountains, the distance shrinks between the turns and slopes, to reveal the corners of this historic location, creating a clear panoramic picture of the region’s landscapes.
The details also include the efforts of the Saudi leadership in constructing roads and tunnels, building bridges and paving roads to serve the residents of the area.
A group of residents joined SPA on its trip to the so-called “hanging villages”, riding a 4x4 vehicle to be able to truly appreciate the destination; a village called Al-Sumaid.
An old resident of the village said he is looking forward to road and pavement construction in the area, in order to reach the old village, as well as maintenance efforts from rain and torrential rains, in line with the Saudi leadership’s vision to develop tourism.
Resident Abdul Rahman Al-Sumadi also spoke to SPA about the ancient village, which includes many old houses, palaces and castles that standstill on top of the mountains. The buildings embrace many archaeological artifacts and rock inscriptions that confirm its ancient history.
The agricultural terraces surrounding the village were a source of living for inhabitants of the region at the time, as well as raising goats and cows.