King Salman to launch 7 development and service projects in Madinah

King Salman to launch 7 development and service projects in Madinah
Dar Al-Hijrah is one of the major projects under construction in Madinah. (SPA)
Updated 10 November 2017

King Salman to launch 7 development and service projects in Madinah

King Salman to launch 7 development and service projects in Madinah

MADINAH: The visit of King Salman to the Madinah region carries wide prospects for the future of the city of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The visit will launch a number of development and service projects that will support economic development in the city and enhance social and economic growth.

Madinah is undergoing many large-scale developments in accommodation, education, transport, health, and infrastructure, as well as a number of other projects that aim to provide better services for pilgrims visiting the Prophet’s Mosque.
Dar Al-Hijrah is one of the major projects under construction in Madinah, and it will include the administrative offices of Hajj missions and guides, the General Cars Syndicate, a travel agency, medical missions and a number of other services. It will also include a luggage transportation station that will enable pilgrims to check their luggage and receive it in their home countries.
The area of the Dar Al-Hijrah project is about 1,600,000 square meters, and it is a few kilometers away from the Prophet’s Mosque. The capacity of the projects is about 120,000 people, and it can be considered a small city with integrated services. The cost of the project is about SR55 billion ($14.7 billion).
Dar Al-Hijrah comprises 100 towers: 20 administrative and 80 residential towers. These towers will have comfortable and secure residences for pilgrims. There will also be 76 four-star hotels and six five-star hotels, which will offer 40,000 rooms to pilgrims from different nations. There will also be a hospital with a capacity of 400 beds to serve the project and the surrounding area. There will be a transit center to transport pilgrims to and from the Prophet’s Mosque via an elevated railway above the level of roads. The project will create 31,000 job opportunities.
The project comprises three phases. Work on the first phase, to build infrastructure, started in July 2014, while the second phase will focus on building administrative offices, as well as offices for the Ministry of Hajj and the Central Hajj Committee. The third phase will be dedicated to building residential towers.
The Haramain High-Speed Rail project in Madinah is located about five kilometers away from the Prophet’s Mosque, and it has been built on an area of 147,000 square meters. The cost of the station is SR1,545,822,769, and it is one of five stations along the line which will cover 450 kilometers ­— from Makkah to Madinah — and is expected to transport about 3 million passengers annually between Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.
The station will be a new gate serving pilgrims after the official opening of the new Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Airport. The number of journeys will be around seven trains every hour — off Hajj season — between Makkah and Jeddah, and two journeys every hour between Makkah and Madinah, bringing the daily total number of journeys to 36, carrying around 15,000 passengers. The number of journeys may increase later on.
The Haramain rail station in Madinah includes services and facilities for passengers that have been prepared according to international standards for high-speed trains. The main building includes terminals for arrivals and departures, a VIP lounge, a mosque that can accommodate up to 1,000 worshippers, a civil defense center, a helipad, train platforms, waiting area and two car parks.
Wahat Al-Qur’an (The Oasis of the Qur’an) is another major project in Madinah. This historical, educational and cultural project, which will be built on an area of 200,000 square meters, will be like a museum and cultural center for teaching Qur’an employing state-of-the-art technology.
The project includes an exhibition hall, special teaching sections for men and women, a Qur’an library, a conference center, a research center for Qur’an studies, a research department, as well as administrative sections, a public square and gardens, a support services center, and a car park.
The king will also launch Islamic University projects, with a total cost of SR843 million; projects of General Directorate of Education in Madinah, with a total cost of SR341 million; projects for the General Administration of Water Services in Madinah, with a total cost of SR235 million; projects for Taibah University, with a total cost of SR260 million; projects for Saudi Electricity Company, with a total cost of SR1 billion; projects for Madinah municipality with a total cost of SR1 billion, as well as projects for health affairs in Madinah, with a total cost of SR500 million.


King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides

King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides
Updated 14 min 25 sec ago

King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides

King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides
  • King Salman expressed his wishes that the missing would return safely
  • Torrential downpours have lashed India’s western coast in recent days, sparking landslides near Mumbai

RIYADH: King Salman sent a cable of condolences and sympathy to the president of India after 119 people died in monsoon-triggered landslides and building collapses.
More than 135,000 people have been evacuated and dozens are still missing.
In the cable to Ram Nath Kovind, the king said “We share the pain of this affliction with you and we send you, the families of the deceased and your people, our deepest condolences and sincere sympathy.”
He also expressed his wishes that the missing would return safely.
Torrential downpours have lashed India’s western coast in recent days, sparking landslides near the financial capital Mumbai and causing the worst floods in decades in the resort state of Goa.


Arab coalition destroys 3 Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys 3 Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia
Updated 24 min 23 sec ago

Arab coalition destroys 3 Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys 3 Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Arab coalition intercepted and destroyed three Houthi drones launched toward southern Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Al-Ekhbariya reported.

The Houthi militia continues its aggression by trying to target civilians and civilian objects, the coalition said.

The coalition is taking operational measures to protect civilians from Houthi hostilities, it added.


Ancient rock art in Hima listed as Saudi Arabia’s sixth UNESCO World Heritage Site

The site at Hima, the sixth to be enlisted in Saudi Arabia, is home to one of the largest rock art complexes in the world and ancient wells. (SPA)
The site at Hima, the sixth to be enlisted in Saudi Arabia, is home to one of the largest rock art complexes in the world and ancient wells. (SPA)
Updated 24 July 2021

Ancient rock art in Hima listed as Saudi Arabia’s sixth UNESCO World Heritage Site

The site at Hima, the sixth to be enlisted in Saudi Arabia, is home to one of the largest rock art complexes in the world and ancient wells. (SPA)
  • Hima was a conduit for caravans on the trade and Hajj routes going to and from the southern parts of Arabia
  • People who passed through the area between pre- and post-historic times have left behind a substantial collection of rock art

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s cultural rock art in Hima, Najran, has been officially recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The decision was made during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee being held in Fuzho, China.

The site, the sixth to be enlisted in Saudi Arabia, is home to one of the largest rock art complexes in the world.

Located in southwestern Saudi Arabia, Hima was a conduit for caravans on the trade and Hajj routes going to and from the southern parts of Arabia, to the ancient world markets of the rest of Arabia, Mesopotamia, the Levant and Egypt.

People who passed through the area between pre- and post-historic times have left behind a substantial collection of rock art depicting hunting, wildlife, plants, symbols, and tools used at the time, as well as thousands of inscriptions written in several ancient scripts, including Musnad, Thamudic, Nabataean and early Arabic.

The wells on the site date back more than 3,000 years and were considered a vital source of fresh water in the vast desert of Najran. They still serve fresh water to this day.

“We are thrilled to have this exceptional ancient site recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The area has outstanding universal value, providing us with many lessons about the evolution of human culture and life in ancient times,” said Dr. Jasir Alherbish, CEO of the Heritage Commission.

“We are working to preserve the area and conduct research to further understand the rock inscriptions, and are looking forward to welcoming more local and international visitors to come and see this historic cultural site for themselves.”

The preservation and protection of the Kingdom's cultural and natural heritage is a key part of the Kingdom's 2030 Vision.

Overseen by the Heritage Commission, a raft of new discoveries has cemented the country’s reputation as a go-to destination for archeologists, historians and scientists looking to understand human history across the region.

Last year, the Commission announced one of the Kingdom's most ground-breaking discoveries – ancient human and animal footprints, dating back more than 120,000 years, in Tabuk, marking the first evidence of human life on the Arabian Peninsula.

The Kingdom has also taken serious measures toward protecting national and international heritage. In 2019, the Ministry of Culture signed a Memorandum of Understating with UNESCO to contribute $25 million to the organization’s strategy for the preservation of heritage worldwide.


Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 24 July 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 497,965
  • A total of 8,155 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 14 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,256 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 280 were recorded in Riyadh, 244 in Makkah, 170 in the Eastern Province, 150 in Asir, 107 in Jazan, 59 in Madinah, 47 in Hail, 41 in Najran, 25 in the Northern Borders region, 23 in Tabuk, 21 in Al-Baha, and six in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 497,965 after 1,155 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,155 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 24 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi Arabia’s most popular, and expensive, scent comes with a warning note

Lead or dye is frequently used to give the impression that agarwood is of high quality, while some stores add materials to dilute and compromise Oud’s quality. (SPA)
Lead or dye is frequently used to give the impression that agarwood is of high quality, while some stores add materials to dilute and compromise Oud’s quality. (SPA)
Updated 24 July 2021

Saudi Arabia’s most popular, and expensive, scent comes with a warning note

Lead or dye is frequently used to give the impression that agarwood is of high quality, while some stores add materials to dilute and compromise Oud’s quality. (SPA)
  • Oud sales are soaring in festive season, but some buyers are vulnerable to production scams and fraudulent sales practices

ALKHOBAR: Saudis’ love of oud — one of the most expensive scents on the market today — may run deep but when it comes to price and quality, many struggle to tell the difference.

The result, experts warn, is that some buyers are vulnerable to production scams and fraudulent sales practices.
Oud’s warm woody scent comes from the heart of the agar tree found mostly in India, Cambodia, Indonesia and nearby countries, with the cost of 1 kg of resin rising from SR2,000 to SR6,000 ($500-1,600) or even higher.
The oil is extracted from trees up to 150 years old, and Gulf countries are among the biggest importers of the product.
Considered a rarity, the oil is commonly used on special occasions, such as Eid celebrations.
Despite its popularity, many find it difficult to judge the quality of oud, with experienced salesmen agreeing that the buyer’s trust in the seller remains a key ingredient in any purchase.
Mamdouh Al-Tamimi, an Aramco employee, enjoys agarwood, amber, musk and rose water oud bought from stores at Al-Maaqilia and Deira markets in Riyadh. Recently he has switched to a single store because he believed the salesman was honest.
“I trust him, so I go to the store three or four times a year,” he said.

FASTFACT

Oud’s warm woody scent comes from the heart of the agar tree found mostly in India, Cambodia, Indonesia and nearby countries, with the cost of 1 kg of resin rising from SR2,000 to SR6,000 ($500-1,600) or even higher.

Al-Tamimi said that he prefers liquid oud, agarwood oil, musk and amber with fragrant perfumes, especially during summer, and also enjoys good-quality oud incense.
Video posts shared on social media recently claim to show how some stores cheat customers by using lead to extend oud’s storage time and make its scent last longer.
Dr. Hamad Al-Kathiri, a consultant at Lamsat Bakhoor Company, which specializes in oud products, said that fraud is a growing problem in wood and liquid oud manufacture, with lead or dye frequently used to give the impression that agarwood is of high quality.

Lead or dye is frequently used to give the impression that agarwood is of high quality, while some stores add materials to dilute and compromise Oud’s quality. (SPA)

Some stores also add materials to dilute and compromise quality, he told Arab News.
“Of course, the common goal is greed as these stores want to make quick profits.”
Al-Kathiri said that in recent years online purchases of oud products have increased significantly, while customer preferences for types of oud have changed.
“One of the key reasons is the exorbitant price of the exquisite types of oud,” he said.
Trust in the seller is a major consideration for online shoppers, although many experts warn against buying online.
“The fact remains that it is difficult to know if an oud product is original because only experts know that and are able to protect customers from falling into fraudsters’ traps,” Al-Kathiri said.
He said that men are often interested in the quality of the oud, its name, size and scent, while women generally care only about the fragrance.
Al-Kathiri said that regardless of cost, buyers are advised to test no more than three scents in a single visit to an outlet.
Customers can ask for a sample to try at home in order to judge its quality, he added.
The scent of oud lingers for varying amounts of time depending on type and quality, with some types remaining on clothing for more than two days.
“I believe there is no such thing as original and non-original oud. It is all about quality. You can say this is a good quality oud and that is not,” he Al-Kathiri said.
Mahmoud Al-Falahi, manager of Malaysia-based Almoheet Oud Company, said that natural oud is produced from trees over 70 years old, without any improvements or enhancements.
However, some oud investors add lead or dye to add weight or to make the product “more dense,” he said, warning that it is extremely difficult to tell altered oud from the original.
The most common scam is increasing the weight of an oud product to boost its price, he said.
“Some stores would rather cheat to make quick profits than stay authentic.”
Al-Falahi advised buyers to test only two types of oud when they visit a store in order to judge the difference between the scents and to see if the fragrance lingers for the desired amount of time.