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.


Saudi Arabia will ease COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday

Updated 25 min 38 sec ago

Saudi Arabia will ease COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday

  • Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the easing will take place in phases
  • Al-Rabiah said the people of the Kingdom had shown a “high amount of responsibility"

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will begin to ease its COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday.

Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the easing will be done in phases and will depend on reports on the spread of the virus. 

The first phase will begin with expanding capacity to serve "critical patients" and the second phase will include intensifying COVID-19 tests and early detection .

Speaking in a press conference on Monday, the Health Minister said the people of the Kingdom had shown a “high amount of responsibility in practicing social distancing.” 

"After five months since this pandemic have started, where the global health systems faced great difficulties in dealing with it, the society has become today more aware of this virus and implementing the measures of the social distancing, as it is a new experience for all of us," he said in remarks quoted by the Saudi Press Agency. 

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READ MORE: Saudi crown prince says COVID-19 will pass

Saudi Arabia reports 9 new COVID-19 deaths

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Rabiah said imposing the precautionary measures during an early phase of the pandemic had put the Kingdom in more control of the virus spread.

"We are proud of the Saudi experts in this field who are internationally recognized, and we rely on their experiences in dealing with that virus," he added.  

The minister said that people should continue taking precautionary measures while leaving their homes by using facemasks and hand gloves.

The Health Ministry recorded nine new fatalities and 2,235 new cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom on Monday. The new deaths have increased the virus-related toll in Saudi Arabia to 399 and the total number of confirmed cases to 74,795. 

It also said the number of recoveries has risen to 2,148, raising the total number of recovered cases 45,668.