Saudi tourism authority retrieves more than 53,000 relics

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has undertaken registration of more than 53,000 historical artifacts and relics. (SPA)
Updated 14 August 2018

Saudi tourism authority retrieves more than 53,000 relics

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has undertaken registration of more than 53,000 historical artifacts and relics that it successfully managed to restore from inside and outside the Kingdom as part of the National Project for Digital Recording of Antiquities.
The project follows international standards for archaeological recording and archiving. It aims to document and store all historic sites, artifacts, historical monument and urban heritage buildings in a comprehensive national digital registry linked to a multidimensional digital map, which is compatible with modern GIS technologies and digital databases, maps, images and graphics.
Director-General of Archiving and Protecting Antiquities at the SCTH, Naif Al-Qannour, said: “The new digital recording project stores detailed information and reports about 32,000 artefacts retrieved from outside the Kingdom and 20,000 returned by citizens to the SCTH since Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of SCTH, launched the campaign to retrieve national artefacts in 2011.
“Some artifacts found their way outside Saudi Arabia through foreign travelers who moved them to other countries. One of the most famous artifacts is the Tayma Stone, which was discovered by Charles Huber and later displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris.”
Al-Qannour also explained that many employees of foreign companies, especially in the oil industry, visited many parts of Saudi Arabia to study their geology and natural manifestations, collected the artifacts they found and took them to national museums in their home countries.
“Robbers of archaeological sites sometimes dig for archaeological treasures and achieve fast financial gains,” Al-Qannour said. “By doing so, they are destroying important archaeological evidence found in these sites, be it on land or in the sea.”
Al-Qannour said the SCTH will continue to work on retrieving and protecting artifacts and has released a red list of artifacts stolen from their sites inside Saudi Arabia and information about them to make them easier to identify. The SCTH has also announced handing financial rewards to those who return artifacts or report their loss or theft.
In 2011, Prince Sultan launched a campaign for retrieving national artifacts, including media and cultural programs and initiatives that aim to enlighten and inform citizens about the value of artifacts and the importance of returning them to the SCTH.
Recently, the commission released a list of 140 names of citizens and 18 Americans who returned artifacts, reported archaeological sites or cooperated with the SCTH in protecting the country’s cultural heritage between 2013 and 2017. This was to honor them during the First Antiquities Forum, which will be launched under the patronage of King Salman on Nov. 7 at the National Museum in Riyadh.


King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

Updated 21 November 2019

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

  • Saudi Arabia has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies, king says
  • Kingdom also welcomed US decision to return Iran's Fordow nuclear facility to its sanctions list

RIYADH: Iran should abandon its expansionist ideology that has only “harmed” its own people, Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Wednesday, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.

A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realizes there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practices, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shoura Council.

“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people.”

A satellite image from Sept. 15, 2017, of the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. (Google Earth)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed Washington's decision to return the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran to the sanctions list. 

Washington said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. 

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.