Third mosque discovered during excavations at Al-Abla in Asir

The SCTH has implemented four excavations in Al-Abla. (SPA)
Updated 21 April 2019

Third mosque discovered during excavations at Al-Abla in Asir

  • The excavations are part of an initiative to protect the cultural heritage of the Kingdom.

BISHA: A third mosque has been discovered during excavations at the site of ancient mining colonies at Al-Abla in Bisha, in the Asir region of Saudi Arabia.

The discovery was made by a team from the Department of Archeology and Museums at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). 

The excavations are part of an initiative by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Program as part of the commission’s efforts to protect the cultural heritage of the Kingdom.

“The excavations kicked off at the facade of the mosque, which has an area of 2,616 square meters, where we discovered walls of stone covered with white plaster,” said Abdullah Al-Aklabi, the head of the excavating team.

The floor consists of crushed gravel mixed with sand and water, covered with a layer of fine gravel, he added. At the center there is a half-circle mihrab, and in the southeast side two rooms have been found, one of which was used to provide light for the mosque.

The SCTH has implemented four excavations in Al-Abla. 

It is considered one of the most important ancient mining sites, as it was located in what was the historical southern sector of the ancient trade route for spice and incense, linking southern and northern Arabia.

The site bears witness to the economic activity of the ancient southern kingdoms of Arabia, a role that thrived during the peak of trade by the Quraish, a tribe of merchants in Makkah. 

Al-Abla retained its mercantile role after the rise of Islam as it was an important stop on the pilgrimage route linking Sanaa to Makkah, in addition to its economic role as a mining colony, in particular during the first few centuries of Islam.

Archaeological excavations are being carried out at the site to reveal and understand the socioeconomic hierarchy of the time, and to identify the various epochs of settlement at the site.

Future archaeological works are expected to explore the transformation in the production of ores in pre-Islamic and post-Islamic times, and shed the light on the urbanizing role of the site.


Space program to establish national training base

Updated 12 min 38 sec ago

Space program to establish national training base

  • The program also aims to create a prosperous educational environment in the Kingdom by establishing a stimulating and enabling environment for the space sector to be a platform that launches economic and scientific paths

RIYADH: The Space Generations Program (Ajyal) launched by the Saudi Space Commission will contribute towards establishing a national base for human capital in the space sector, said Abdul Aziz Al Al-Sheikh, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission.

The program, he said, encourages interest in scientific research and learning various sciences in the areas of innovation: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM).

Al-Sheikh added that the program was striving to cooperate with specialized academic circles to achieve further progress in research related to space science and its applications.

The program also aims to create a prosperous educational environment in the Kingdom by establishing a stimulating and enabling environment for the space sector to be a platform that launches economic and scientific paths.

“We derive our inspiration from the experience of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Space Commission, and his team, who were passionate, creative and determined to reach space,” said Al-Sheikh.

He added that the scientific team that supported the prince’s journey included a group of scientists as well as the most skilled technicians, designers and creative thinkers who contributed to achieving this dream.

The CEO said that the success of the trip was a result of the efforts of the entire team. “The Saudi Space Commission seeks to form a similar dream team that contributes to achieving our ambitious vision for the future of the space sector in the Kingdom,” he added.

Director general of the Space Generations Program, Ilham Al-Harbi, explained that the program had a comprehensive set of goals and strategic visions that aim to instill inspiration in generations to achieve leadership in space science.

She said that the program also aimed to build and develop future generations of Saudi space scientists and turn their dreams into a reality.