RIYADH: The construction of four showpiece Saudi regional museums costing more than SR224 million ($59.7 million) has been completed, tourism chiefs announced on Tuesday.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) said the new buildings, located in Asir, Hail, Tabuk and Jouf, would be opened soon as part of an initiative driven by King Salman to promote the country’s cultural heritage.
Coming under the umbrella of the National Transformation Program 2020, the project aims to establish, expand and develop 13 regional museums throughout the Kingdom.
As well as building new museums, the initiative includes designing exhibition displays using the latest international visual presentation techniques.
Backed by the SCTH president, Ahmed Al Khateeb, and Saudi regional governors, the job of preserving the Kingdom’s heritage and history is seen as a major component in helping to boost the national tourism economy.
More than 1,000 jobs are expected to be created in the museums and the commission has lined up qualified university graduates to work on specialized tasks and in fields such as marketing and museum-related events.
Architecturally, the new museums have been designed and built to reflect the urban and cultural identity of each region, and exhibits will be displayed in chronological order, starting from prehistoric times and the emergence of early civilizations in each region and concluding with the modern era, including crafts and traditional industries.
Regional history will also be explained to visitors through special programs and exhibits focused on specific categories.
In addition, social, cultural and scientific events and activities will be highlighted along with tourism investment opportunities.
During early 2020, the SCTH will transfer its national heritage section to the Ministry of Culture, which will in turn complete the implementation of the initiative.
The museum in Jouf cost more than SR61 million to build and occupies 12,000 square meters in Dumat Al-Jandal, overlooking an important archaeological area that includes Marid Castle and Umar Mosque. It is also adjacent to Al-Nuwaiser Museum and other Jouf landmarks.
Asir’s SR31 million regional museum covers more than 7,000 square meters in the center of Abha city, while the one in Hail was constructed on 11,000 square meters of land near to the Prince Sultan Cultural Center at a cost of SR66.5 million.
The regional museum in Tabuk is on a 12,854-square-meter plot and SR65.6 million was spent on building and equipping it. It is located within the site of the historic railway station in the center of Tabuk.