Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ attracts crowds in Turkmenistan

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Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ showcases the Kingdom’s customs and tradition. (SPA)
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Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ showcases the Kingdom’s customs and tradition. (SPA)
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Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ showcases the Kingdom’s customs and tradition. (SPA)
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Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ showcases the Kingdom’s customs and tradition. (SPA)
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Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ showcases the Kingdom’s customs and tradition. (SPA)
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Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ showcases the Kingdom’s customs and tradition. (SPA)
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Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ showcases the Kingdom’s customs and tradition. (SPA)
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Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ showcases the Kingdom’s customs and tradition. (SPA)
Updated 21 April 2019

Saudi ‘Cultural Days’ attracts crowds in Turkmenistan

  • Lecture highlights historical relations between Turkmenistan, Arabian Peninsula

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan: This weekend saw a three-day celebration of Saudi Arabian culture take place in Turkmenistan.
Saudi “Cultural Days” opened to visitors on Friday and concluded Sunday. On Thursday night, an official opening ceremony took place at Al-Maqam Palace.
The event included a number of exhibitions, displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat.
The pavilion of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research took visitors on a virtual-reality journey through the Two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Madinah and the holy sites, highlighting their expansion and development. It also featured photos and models of projects dating back to the founding of Saudi Arabia, in addition to a number of research papers produced by the institute.
Elsewhere, a pavilion of traditional Saudi costumes displayed dresses from several regions of the Kingdome, which visitors could try on for themselves, and the Darah Foundation provided a history of Saudi-Turkmen relations, with a particular focus on cultural ties, and exhibited artworks that reflected society and the environment in the Kingdom.
A pavilion dedicated to the Zamzam Project explained the evolution of the methods of extracting water from the historic well and distributing it to the Two Holy Mosques.
The College of Agriculture at Qassim University hosted a palm and date exhibition at its pavilion, and there were also pavilions dedicated to Arabic calligraphy; hospitality; the art of henna; and traditional folk dances and music.
On Saturday, the Saudi delegation for “Cultural Days” — which included Saudi Ambassador to Turkmenistan Khalid bin Faisal Al-Sahli, and the Ministry of Media’s general supervisor for international cultural relations, Omar bin Mohammed Al-Aqeel — visited Magtymguly State University in Ashgabat.
During the visit, Dr. Ibrahim bin Mohammed Al-Muzaini and Dr. Hamoud bin Mohammed Al-Najidi of the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University delivered a lecture titled “The importance of the Silk Road, and historical and cultural relations between Turkmenistan and the Arabian Peninsula.”
Al-Muzaini described Turkmenistan as “the jewel of Asia Minor and the essence of history and civilization,” noting that the country is home to historical and archaeological sites dating back to the early Islamic era.
He explained that trading routes traditionally passed through Turkmenistan on their way to the Arabian Peninsula and other parts of the Islamic world.
Al-Muzaini proposed establishing a center to document relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan.
Al-Najidi highlighted the cultural ties between the two countries, focusing on the Arab presence in Turkmenistan as well as scientific, economic, and trade ties between the Kingdom and Turkmenistan, in addition to Hajj routes between the two countries.
He also discussed the Turkmen presence in Saudi Arabia through the Khurasan Road, emphasizing the developments and changes the road has gone through.
Ambassador Al-Sahli said in a press statement: “We aspire to assist those who promote and support Arabic language departments in Turkmen universities, and I look forward to agreements that support teaching Arabic in Turkmen universities through the employment of Saudi specialists.”
The dean of the College of Foreign Languages at the university, Dr. Awraz Qaldi Awad Saad, emphasized his country’s desire to include Arabic in its educational curricula, and to teach Turkmen heritage in foreign languages, including Arabic.

Middle East's love affair with the moon and space

Updated 28 min 41 sec ago

Middle East's love affair with the moon and space

  • The UAE and Saudi Arabia are inaugurating a new era of Arab space exploration
  • Saudi Prince Sultan entered the history books when he journeyed into space on Discovery in 1985

RIYADH: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before schools were due to start after summer vacation. 

Fifty years ago today, Saudis joined the world in gathering around TV sets to watch a live broadcast of what was once thought impossible: American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took man’s first steps on the moon. 

Armstrong famously said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” True to his words, advancement in space has skyrocketed since the Apollo 11 mission, opening up doors for space scientists to reach for the stars.

It was only 16 years later that Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman became the first Arab, Muslim — and royal — astronaut to travel into space. Before traveling to Houston for the Apollo mission anniversary, he sat down with Arab News in an exclusive interview to talk about his NASA mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in June 1985.

Prince Sultan, recently appointed chairman of the Saudi Space Commission, was only 13 when he watched the historic moon landing on TV. The picture quality might have been poor and the sound garbled, but footage of the landing captured his imagination.

“Humans made airplanes and made advances in industry, but for humans to leave their own planet, that’s really something else,” Prince Sultan told Arab News. 

Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old. “It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

It has been more than 30 years since space last had an Arab visitor (Syria’s Muhammed Faris became the second Arab in space on board USSR’s Soyuz spacecraft in 1987). But this September, the first Emirati will become the latest Arab visitor when he joins a team of astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS).

Hazza Al-Mansoori will travel to space on board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft that is due to take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 25.