Traveling back thousands of years by reviving KSA's Al-Ula

Archaeological treasures in the northwestern region of the Kingdom are older than Saudi Arabia itself, and barely known to the world. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Traveling back thousands of years by reviving KSA's Al-Ula

  • The RCU is joining forces with the Arab World Institute in Paris to produce a touring exhibition

JEDDAH: Bathing in the scorching sun of Saudi Arabia for the past 4,000 years and sitting among the sandy dunes of the northwestern region of the Kingdom, lie the country’s archaeological treasures. These treasures are even older than Saudi Arabia itself, and barely known to the world.
The area covers about 52 hectares of well-preserved land in which there are tombs handcrafted out of the rocks, relics from ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans, archaeological riches dating back 4,000 years and other priceless artifacts from the Ottoman Empire.
The somewhat forgotten land is going to be brought into the spotlight by the year 2020 as a historic collaboration takes place between Saudi Arabia and France.
France excels in the art of preserving history so it is the perfect alliance to meet the goals of making Al-Ula a tourist attraction.
Saudis are cooperating with France in preserving and promoting culture and archaeology.
The French consider this project so prestigious that Gerard Mestrallet, a special envoy of the president, has been appointed for Al-Ula. Both countries share a common approach to national heritage; that culture transcends all borders and should be accessible to all who seek to observe history.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron as well as Al-Ula governor, the special envoy to Al-Ula and France’s foreign minister. Against the walls of Paris’s Musee De Arts Decoratifs — a wing of the Louvre Palace — sit the illuminated sandstones for the French to experience a sliver of Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage. The Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU) has signed an agreement with Campus France, described as the leading international academic and vocational public institution in France, to train young Saudi women and men to become aspiring archaeologists.
The RCU is joining forces with the Arab World Institute in Paris to produce a touring exhibition. Public transport, hotels and restaurants are also part of the plan.
More than 2,100 people applied for traineeships: 200 young Saudi men and women will be trained by the most prestigious institutes in the world; part of the 1.2 million new tourist jobs are expected to be created under Vision 2030.
Cutting-edge technologies and methods such as aerial LiDAR (light detection and ranging), scanning and photos taken from light aircraft, helicopter and drones will also be used.


First group of Sundanese pilgrims arrive in Jeddah

Updated 18 July 2019
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First group of Sundanese pilgrims arrive in Jeddah

  • Jeddah Islamic Port will receive pilgrims until Aug. 6 and more than 266 personnel will be involved in overseeing this year’s Hajj season
  • The president of the Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI) and other dock officials greeted 1,633 pilgrims as they disembarked at Jeddah Islamic Port following their voyage from Sawakin, Sudan

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has welcomed the first group of Sudanese Hajj pilgrims to arrive in the Kingdom by sea.
The president of the Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI), Saad bin Abdul Aziz Al-Khalb, and other dock officials greeted 1,633 pilgrims as they disembarked at Jeddah Islamic Port following their voyage from Sawakin in Sudan.
Al-Khalb said the operational plan prepared for this year’s Hajj aimed to receive 22,000 pilgrims through Jeddah Islamic Port, a 37 percent increase on 2018. He added that 22 trips using four ferries were planned, representing a 29 percent rise in the number of sea journeys on the previous year.
The authority, in cooperation with different government sectors and agencies, aims to ensure Hajj pilgrims’ comfort during their stay in the Kingdom.
Jeddah Islamic Port will receive pilgrims until Aug. 6 and more than 266 personnel will be involved in overseeing this year’s Hajj season. These workers will include maritime pilots, ship captains, technical and operational supervisors, security teams, staff responsible for operations at the station, and technical affairs managers.