Al-Ahsa museum provides a detailed history of Eastern Province

The Al-Ahsa Archaeological and Heritage Museum in Al-Hofuf contains valuable archaeological pieces. (SPA)
Updated 23 December 2018
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Al-Ahsa museum provides a detailed history of Eastern Province

  • The area dedicated to the Dilmun civilization (which began in the 3rd millennium BCE and continued until around 500 BCE) provides a history of the emergence of camel herders in the Gulf

JEDDAH: The Al-Ahsa Archaeological and Heritage Museum in Al-Hofuf, which opened in 1983, contains valuable archaeological pieces and other treasures from Al-Ahsa’s long and storied history. Each room is dedicated to different eras — from the Stone Age, through the Dilmun period to the Babylonian and Assyrian eras — and the civilizations that emerged during those periods.
As well as displaying historical items, the museum is also responsible for their restoration, if necessary, and hosts regular lectures.
The museum houses more than 1,400 antiquities, as well as photographs, coins, manuscripts and other documents.
The first room visitors enter is home to Stone Age items dating back to 5000 BCE. You can see a history of the geology of the area beginning millions of years ago, and learn of the commercial and agricultural importance of the area and of the wider Arabian Gulf.
The room also displays tools and valuables from Ain Qannas and Al-Dosriyah that show the influence the area had on neighboring civilizations during the three periods of the Stone Age — Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic.

Flora and fauna
The museum’s courtyards showcase early life in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, including the flora and fauna of the desert around Al-Ahsa. There are prototypes here of some ancient boats and tools used by pearl divers and fishermen in the Gulf.
The area dedicated to the Dilmun civilization (which began in the 3rd millennium BCE and continued until around 500 BCE) provides a history of the emergence of camel herders in the Gulf (around 1700 BCE) and of cities in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula.
The museum also features maps of trade routes (both land and sea) in the Arabian Peninsula and its surroundings, in addition to examples of the languages prevalent in the eastern part of the peninsula before Islam, along with an overview of writing and calligraphy in Islamic heritage.
Visitors will also learn how Arab tribes were united in the Sasanian Empire, which was the last kingdom before the rise of Islam and was a major power for more than 400 years.
Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Farida, director of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) in Al-Ahsa, said the museum’s oldest exhibits are tools from the Neolithic period that were discovered in Al-Ahsa, Yabrin and Ain Qannas. The style of these tools, he explained, suggest that flora and fauna were abundant in the region at that time.
The museum was established, Al-Farida told the Saudi Press Agency, in order to protect heritage sites and facilitate their exploration, to store, document and maintain pieces of historical and archaeological importance, and to help introduce local history and heritage to the people of Saudi Arabia.
He highlighted that the museum includes a room divided into three areas, which features a map of archaeological sites in the Eastern Province, a painting of Al-Ahsa museum, and another painting of the development of modern-day Saudi Arabia. Photos of King Abdul Aziz inaugurating various projects in the Eastern Province are also on display, along with old photos of Al-Ahsa from the 1930s and 1940s.
Much of the museum, he noted, focuses on the rise of Islam and the establishment of caliphates in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, including the construction of the oldest mosques in Hajjar, Al-Ahsa and Uqair by the Banu Abdul Qays tribes.
Other rooms, he said, highlight the reigns of local rulers of Al-Ahsa, including the Uyunids, Jabrids and Usfurids, up to the era of King Abdul Aziz. There are tools and materials that shed light on the lives of Bedouins, rural and urban communities, and the cities and markets of Al-Ahsa.
There are even some pieces of pottery found by chance by a man who was having a house built in the eastern part of Al-Ahsa a few years ago, Al-Farida said.
These turned out to date back to the pre-Islamic period and are the oldest pieces of pottery to have been unearthed in the Kingdom.
Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the SCTH, and Prince Badr bin Mohammed bin Jalawi, governor of Al-Ahsa province, have both examined these pottery pieces in person, Al-Farida said.


The Color Run debuts in KSA’s Eastern Province

Updated 18 March 2019
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The Color Run debuts in KSA’s Eastern Province

  • ‘The Happiest 5k on the Planet’ combines ‘fun, exercise and charitable giving’ during the Sharqiah Season
  • The Sharqiah project aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom

JEDDAH: For the first time in Saudi Arabia, The Color Run is coming to Sharqiah Season, which features more than 80 events in Eastern Province cities, and is the first of 11 scheduled festivals planned throughout the Kingdom in 2019. 

Sharqiah Season is a collaborative effort by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), the General Culture Authority and the General Sports Authority.

The countdown is on for The Color Run, which takes place at the South Alkhobar Corniche on Saturday.

In this untimed 5-km event, runners — who start in white — are doused with various colors at every 1-km checkpoint.

Since its inception in 2012, The Color Run has seen more than 7 million participants in 40 countries, while donating more than $5 million to charities. 

Organized in line with the GEA’s efforts to attract top entertainment offerings to Saudi Arabia, “The Happiest 5k on the Planet” will make its mark on the Kingdom as part of this year’s worldwide “Color Run Hero Tour,” with 15,000 participants expected in each city.

The non-competitive run is not only an opportunity to create picture-perfect memories, but serves as a celebration of health, happiness and individuality. 

The GEA is supporting the event as part of its continued efforts to enrich the lifestyle of residents and citizens in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan and the Quality of Life Program 2020.

The Color Run was hosted in the UAE twice in 2018, with massive crowds attending and cheering the runners. 

This year, the main theme is celebrating the hero in you, where nothing is impossible. Once the run is over, the fun will continue at the Finish Festival, a larger-than-life celebration with music, photo ops, activity booths, vendors, and more massive color throws.

“We are thrilled to be bringing The Color Run to Saudi Arabia. Its vibrancy matches the aims of the GEA and the Quality of Life Program 2020 objective to support and create new options that boost participation across cultural, entertainment and sports activities,” said the GEA’s Chief Operating Officer Sultan Al-Faqir.

“The Color Run, being held in our three biggest cities, will provide an exciting opportunity for thousands of families to engage in a healthy activity that combines fun, exercise and charitable giving.”

The Sharqiah project aims to deliver an extensive entertainment experience for both Saudis and visitors to the Kingdom.

The festival features events in Eastern Province cities, including Dammam, Dhahran, Alkhobar, Al-Ahsa and Jubail. Future seasons will focus on different areas of Saudi Arabia, with different entertainment options for each city. Upcoming seasons will focus on different areas, and also different parts of the year, such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.

"The Happiest 5k on the Planet" will make its mark on the Kingdom as part of this year’s worldwide ‘Color Run Hero Tour,’ with 15,000 participants expected in each city. (Photo Supplied)

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, said in a statement that  the organization’s participation in the festival aligns with its goal of improving the quality of life in the Kingdom, and discovering local talent in various entertainment industries.  He also highlighted the importance of the entertainment sector and its contribution to the economy and the creation of jobs for locals, all important aspects of Vision 2030.

The opening night of Sharqiah Season on Thursday drew crowds of Saudis to the Alkhobar Corniche, despite strong winds and sprinklings of rain earlier in the day. Groups of friends stopping to take selfies and families with young children in tow wandered through the Entertainment Boulevard, lined with food stalls selling karak and koshari.

Earlier in the day, the mega event began with the opening of an exhibit featuring the work of Leonardo da Vinci at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). 

The exhibit showcased some of Da Vinci’s original sketches, with several screens showing videos detailing how his designs have continued to inspire scientists and inventors in the modern era.

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Sharqiah Season continues until March 30, with upcoming weekends featuring sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Akon, Deadmau5, Pitbull and French Montana.