ThePlace: Al-Ahsa Oasis in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

This photograph was taken by Abdullah Al-Sheikh as part of the Colors of Saudi competition. (Saudi Tourism photo)
Updated 01 September 2019

ThePlace: Al-Ahsa Oasis in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

Al-Ahsa Oasis is one of the largest and most famous natural oases in the world, with over 3 million palm trees producing delicious dates. The place is widely considered to have the greenest and most fertile land in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province. 

The region contains prominent archaeological and historical sites — some that date back to 6,000 B.C. — and has achieved three Arab and international accolades in the last four years.

In 2015, Al-Ahsa became the first Gulf city to be included in the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network for crafts and folk art. 

UNESCO designated Al-Ahsa as a World Heritage Site in 2018, becoming the fifth Saudi area to receive the accolade following Madain Saleh (2008), the Tarif neighborhood in Diriyah (2010), Al-Balad, Jeddah (2014) and the rock art in the Hail region (2015).

Moreover, Al-Ahsa was chosen as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2019 by the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism. 

This photograph was taken by Abdullah Al-Sheikh as part of the Colors of Saudi competition. 


Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

Updated 16 September 2019

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. 

“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.

However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan - which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom - and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.

“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said. 

Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. "We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it's important to continue doing it.

“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it's a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that's something out of Japan's constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”

He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.