‘Misk Historic Jeddah’ highlights the city’s heritage

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged $13.33 million to support the restoration of historical buildings in Jeddah, as they represent a major part of Saudi heritage. (AN photos by Huda Bashata)
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Updated 18 May 2019
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‘Misk Historic Jeddah’ highlights the city’s heritage

  • The event aims to revive the old area of the city, as well as promote the Kingdom’s cultural legacy

JEDDAH: Jeddah’s historical area welcomed visitors with songs as part of the third edition of the “Misk Historic Jeddah” initiative, which highlights the city’s historical and cultural importance.
The event, which was launched last Tuesday and runs until May 20, features entertainment and activities for people from all walks of life including a holographic play.
The Center for Initiatives at Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s MisK Foundation aims to highlight and revive the old part of Jeddah, as well as promote the Kingdom’s cultural heritage.
Visitors to Jeddah’s ancient port center Al-Balad, which has been a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site since 2014, are presented with a vivid recreation of life in the past.
Founded in the 7th century C.E., Al-Balad once served as a center of trade and commerce for Jeddah. But most of the ancient walls that surrounded the town, and the souq within it, became weathered and were eventually torn down as centuries passed.
As wealth from oil began to flow into the Saudi economy, and the country began a march toward modernity, many people moved out of the cramped spaces of Al-Balad, leaving its more palatial homes and buildings to slow dilapidation.
“Misk Historic Jeddah” shines a light on life in the old part of Jeddah, with teams of men and women on hand to guide visitors through buildings, art and craftsmanship.
Reham Flimban said this year’s event included 19 main areas for the whole family. “There are special events for children such as puppet theater and museums, Misk art gallery, authentic cafes and more,” she said.
The historical area recalls times past, with street vendors and children playing traditional games, and many Saudis have participated in the event to revive old professions and crafts.

Crafts and Activities 
Visitors strolling through the streets and alleys get an insight into disappearing trades. One young Saudi keymaker is presenting a collection of keys that are more than 200 years old.
Anas Rajab, who inherited the trade from his father and grandfather, said he was proud to show off his craft to the next generation and that his family has more than 90 years of experience in the key-making field.
Rajab has a collection of over 2,000 different keys and locks and has kept a prototype of the first lock.
“I have a lot of rare keys, it is my profession and the profession of my ancestors,” he said.
Rajab also said that a key museum would soon open in Saudi Arabia. “This museum will be the first of its kind in the Middle East and will highlight the craft of keymaking and will also present a rare collection of keys and locks from all over the world.”
Visitors are attracted to the traditional entertainment activities on offer, an escape from the modern technology that surrounds them, and the puppet show is a hit with children.
Saudi novelist Maha Aboud Baashen wrote the story for the puppet show.
“The scenario aims to plant the value of preserving our Saudi heritage and explain it to children through fun and simple content in a 12-minute show,” she said.
Two eight-meter high murals, painted by four Saudi artists, welcome visitors.
“I love the spirit of teamwork here and I believe that participating in this event will give me a lot as I got to meet many talented artists,” one of the mural artists, Kholood Al-Amri, said.

Historical area 
Jeddah’s historical area is characterized by a distinctive architectural style. Its engraved wooden features and buildings belonging to old Jeddah families, including Nasif House, one of the most important in the area, have been transformed into a museum and a cultural center for artifacts, images and manuscripts.
There are more than 450 buildings within the historical walls of the city, 56 of which are in urgent need of repair.
SR50 million ($13.33 million) was pledged by the crown prince to support the restoration of these buildings as they represent a major part of the Kingdom’s ancient heritage and are a significant tourist site.

Jeddah Zaman 
“Jeddah Zaman” showcases the city’s historical monuments using miniature models and allows visitors to view a detailed map of historic Jeddah.
There are several activities for children in a dedicated area including traditional games and face painting.
The theater has three shows, including “The Tale of Grandpa” which is performed three times a day and showcases the most important events in the historic area.
“Craftsmen Street” introduces visitors to the traditional crafts of ancient Jeddah, and there is also an exhibition of old photographs of Jeddah.

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Rawashin

A type of bay window — or oriel — that gives Hejazi architecture its distinctive look.


Saudi crown prince meets deputy head of Sudan’s transitional council

Updated 18 min 43 sec ago
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Saudi crown prince meets deputy head of Sudan’s transitional council

  • The two leaders discussed cooperation between their countries
  • Saudi Arabia and the UAE had earlier pledged to send $3 billion worth of aid to Sudan

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met the deputy head of Sudan’s transitional military council who is visiting Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Press Agency said early Friday.

The meeting between the crown prince and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who goes by the nickname Hemedti, was held in Jeddah, where they discussed cooperation between the two countries, the report said.

Dagalo was accompanied by the official spokesman of the Sudanese Military Council General Shamsaddin Kabbashi, it said.

With the crown prince during the meeting were Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet; and Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Member of the Cabinet.

The crown prince, who is also deputy prime minister and defense minister, discussed with Dagalo bilateral cooperation between the two countries in addition to latest developments at the regional arena.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE had earlier pledged to send $3 billion worth of aid to help Sudan recover after mass protests that had led to the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir last month.

Last Sunday, the two Gulf allies deposited $500 million into Sudan’s Central Bank, the first installment of the joint package of aid.

The move will strengthen Sudan’s “financial position, alleviate pressure on the Sudanese pound and achieve more stability in the exchange rate," said a statement by the Saudi Finance Ministry

It said the remaining amount will be allocated to meet the urgent needs of the Sudanese people, including food, medications and oil derivatives.

SPA said the Sudanese leaders departed Jeddah after the meeting and were seen off Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, governor of Makkah province and senior adviser to the royal court.