Saudi Arabia’s tourism authority adds 19 new heritage sites to antiquities register

1 / 6
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTH) Asir office has added records of 19 new archaeological sites to the National Antiquities Register. (Shutterstock)
2 / 6
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTH) Asir office has added records of 19 new archaeological sites to the National Antiquities Register. (Shutterstock)
3 / 6
4 / 6
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTH) Asir office has added records of 19 new archaeological sites to the National Antiquities Register. (Shutterstock)
5 / 6
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTH) delegation meets with governor of Wadi Al-Dawasir Abdullah bin Suleiman Al-Mubarak and members of the region’s Tourism Development Committee. (SPA)
6 / 6
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTH) delegation meets with governor of Wadi Al-Dawasir Abdullah bin Suleiman Al-Mubarak and members of the region’s Tourism Development Committee. (SPA)
Updated 25 November 2018
0

Saudi Arabia’s tourism authority adds 19 new heritage sites to antiquities register

  • The new sites belong to the pre-Islamic and early Islam eras and were found in three provinces including Bisha, Tathlith, and Balqarn
  • The number of sites listed in the National Antiquities Register through SCTH office in Bisha during this year has increased to 214

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTH) Asir office has added records of 19 new archaeological sites to the National Antiquities Register.
SCTH official Mohammed Al-Umrah said the number of sites listed in the National Antiquities Register through their office in Bisha during this year has increased to 214.
The new sites belong to the pre-Islamic and early Islam eras and were found in three provinces including Bisha, Tathlith, and Balqarn.
In a bid to end reliance on oil, the Kingdom is investing in tourism, aiming to increase spending by Saudis at home instead of on holidays abroad.
Encouraging visits to local places of beauty or interest is a key Vision 2030 goal and the Kingdom has some world-class sites, some in remote areas, which are all but unknown outside the Kingdom.
On Friday, a group of Italian architects toured one of the most fascinating heritage villages in Saudi Arabia — Rijal Alma.
The village, set to be transformed into a major tourist attraction, is an architectural delight located in the province of Asir in the south of the country.
The architects, who were given a tour by Rijal Alma Mayor Saeed bin Ali Al-Hafiz, were informed about the architectural techniques developed by locals and the materials used.
The structures, which use stones and clay and often multi-floored, are distinctive, especially the white-framed windows.
The group also explored a number of public buildings, including schools and municipal premises, as well as heritage sites.
The Italians are currently taking part in an architectural exhibition in the region.
Rijal Alma won the Prince Sultan bin Salman Award for Urban Heritage in 2007, and was submitted for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage site earlier this year.
The SCTH’s efforts to register heritage and archaeological sites to the Urban Heritage list fall under the Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage Care program that includes a system of projects and programs to develop, highlight and preserve national heritage sites.
The residents’ initiatives to preserve their village are driven by an awareness of its history, culture, nature and moderate climate.
The towns along the Red Sea coast and the southern highlands contain some fine buildings in their historic old quarters.
Meanwhile, an SCTH delegation, headed by Abdulaziz bin Hasan Al-Hasan, visited Wadi Al-Dawasir governorate and met with governor Abdullah bin Suleiman Al-Mubarak and members of the region’s Tourism Development Committee to discuss ways of developing tourist areas.
The meeting tackled completing the development of the archaeological village of Al-Faw (Qaryat Al-Faw) and re-exploring archaeological sites, to include them in the UNESCO list of world heritage sites.
They also discussed mechanism of identifying and supporting tourism and heritage activities, developing desert sites for touristic purposes, and encouraging the private sector to contribute to the investment of these sites areas.


Writing’s on the wall for unsightly graffiti in 36 Saudi cities

Updated 17 min 11 sec ago
0

Writing’s on the wall for unsightly graffiti in 36 Saudi cities

  • 5,700 students tapped to replace graffiti with traditional art
  • The massive spruce-up operation will take place in southwest region of Asir

RIYADH: An initiative to clear unsightly graffiti from the walls of 36 Saudi cities and replace it with traditional art has been officially launched.

A 5,700-strong army of students will be drafted for the massive spruce-up operation to take place over a period of 36 hours across the Kingdom’s southwest region of Asir.

Once the walls have been cleaned, the second phase of the project will involve raising awareness about the importance of maintaining public spaces, with the city of Abha the first to benefit. There, a length of wall covering more than 2,000 square meters, will be decorated.

The scheme is partly aimed at encouraging Asir youth to become proactive citizens in their own cities, and role models for other provinces.

FAST FACTS

The scheme aims to encourage Asir youth to become proactive citizens in their own cities, and role models for other provinces.

Students from seven education administrations in the region will clean walls on main and side roads, and also suburbs, in 36 cities.

An official statement issued by Asir regional authorities, said the objectives behind the Asir campaign were “to encourage social responsibility among its citizens, empower youth to participate in activities that bring out their potential, and to increase awareness of responsibility toward public ownership.”

Students from seven education administrations in the region will clean walls on main and side roads, and also suburbs, in 36 cities.

Many of the walls will then be decked out with art works including Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, a traditionally female interior wall decoration. In 2017, the ancient art form was added to the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The statement added that Asir had been embracing cultural art for decades, and Al-Qatt Al-Asiri was now identified with the Asir region around the world. The British Museum and other major international exhibition centers have been acquiring the work of Asir artists in recent years.

Attending the launch of the initiative in Abha, Dr. Walid Al-Humaidi, the secretary of Asir region, said: “This initiative is part of objectives to improve the urban landscape, which is one of the most important programs of national transformation in the municipal sector in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

He added that the second part of the project aimed to increase awareness about the value of artwork and its role in developing a sense of human belonging.