ThePlace: Al-Ula province is one of the culture and heritage in Saudi Arabia

Photo courtesy: (Royal Commission for Al-Ula)
Updated 14 September 2018

ThePlace: Al-Ula province is one of the culture and heritage in Saudi Arabia

Al-Ula province is one of the most important sites for culture and heritage in Saudi Arabia, standing as a witness to generations of civilizations throughout history.
It contains great monuments, some of which are visible and some which are buried beneath the ground. It is a land that holds traces of Thamud, Madain Saleh and Al-Hajjar, acting as an integral tourist city, attracting more than 1 million tourists from within and outside the Kingdom
Madain Saleh is the first Saudi site to be taken under UNESCO’s wing in its World Heritage List. King Salman issued a royal decree to establish a Royal Commission in the province of Al-Ula to preserve it, confirming the importance of this historic area and to develop it to achieve the economic and cultural objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The area of Madain Saleh is about 14.6 square kilometers and has traces of human settlements from the Stone Age. With water, fertile soil and a strategic location on the roads leading to the great cultural centers in the old Near East, it has continued to attract settlements; archaeological treasures and ancient cities date back 4,000 years.
The city of Al-Ula is located between two large mountains and has fertile soil where palm trees, citrus and fruits are planted. Groundwater is available despite the great scarcity of rain.
On the mountain peaks on the outskirts of Madain Saleh, prehistoric artifacts were found that were mentioned in the Qur’an, confirming that Al-Hajjar was a busy and populated area inhabited by the Thamud.
A collection of Thamid, Lihyan, Southern Arab and Latin inscriptions attest to several settlements in the area, pertaining to the first millennium BC. More than 100 years ago, Frenchmen Antonin Jaussen and Raphael Savignac traveled to Al-Ula, undertaking the first serious archaeological research.
On Thursday, the Royal Commission for Al-Ula revealed a new competition called “Name a Rock” where people were given the chance to name rocks in the governorate to encourage people to explore the local rock formations.
Participants should take a photo of a rock formation in Al-Ula and suggest a name for it. In addition, they should provide the reason behind the naming and locate the rock on the map. Winners can receive prizes of up to SR100,000 (about $27,000).

Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

Updated 26 May 2019

Pilgrims with special needs treated to a memorable Umrah trip under Saudi ministry’s Ramadan initiative

  • Umrah trip held as part of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah's “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative 

JEDDAH: Several Muslims with special needs have benefited from a special Umrah pilgrimage organized by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.

According to statement from the ministry, the Umrah trip, was held on the 17th of Ramadan  (May 22) under the “Sadiq Almutamir (Friend of the Pilgrim)” initiative in partnership with Sawt Alasm association in Jeddah.

A busload of 20 people with special needs were accompanied by 12 volunteers of Sadiq Almutamir, including sign language interpreters for the deaf pilgrims. 

The first stop was at Kuday area in Makkah, where pilgrims received the special gifts of Sadiq Almutamir, supported by the Establishment of Motawifs of South East Asian Pilgrims. Next was their arrival at the Grand Mosque, wherein the pilgrims performed Umrah, enjoyed Iftar meals, and received souvenirs from Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association. 

Volunteers assisted the pilgrims by communicating with them, providing instructions and directions in addition to sharing their feelings with the support of the sign language interpreters. 

Sadiq Almutamir also accompanied pilgrims during the performance of Umrah, providing wheelchairs for the elderly, sharing breakfast, and learning about their impressions of performing Umrah for their first time. 

Sadiq Almutamir is one of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s initiatives in Makkah’s Cultural Forum. It focuses on promoting the culture of giving and cooperation between the Saudi youth as well as elevating the volunteering services provided to Umrah pilgrims in order to enrich their experiences. It also provides optional tours to visit attractions, monuments, and places contribute to enriching experiences of Mutamirs and immortalizing beautiful memories in the Kingdom.

Launched late last year, the initiative aims to develop the spirit of volunteerism among Muslims and to invest in the youth by engaging young men and women in service and social responsibility.

“It focuses as well on improving the efficiency level of services provided to pilgrims, promoting the culture of volunteering, helping elderly and special needs’ people to perform Umrah rituals, and finally contributing to the realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 of reaching 1 million volunteers annually,” ministry statement said.

The trip was held in cooperation with the Western Fleet Transport, in coordination with the undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for pilgrims’ transportation affairs and Haji & Mu'tamer's Gift Association.