‘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

‘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.

Decoder

Rawashin

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


Saudi Arabia will ease COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday

Updated 55 min 56 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.